The giant Tortoise of Aldabra
As its name suggests, is a giant turtle species native to the Aldabra Islands in the Indian Ocean.
It is one of the largest species of tortoise on the planet and is also one of the longest living animals in the world, with a registered specimen that managed to live 255 years.
In addition, it is the only giant turtle in the Indian Ocean that still lives.
After surviving the arrival of human settlers in their habitat, causing the death of other native species, including the giant turtle of Seychelles, which is thought to be extinct in nature.
The giant tortoise of Aldabra has a huge dome shaped shell, which acts as a protective armor for your soft and vulnerable body.
It also has a very long neck that allows you to access leaves from the branches of tall trees.
The male specimens grow on average up to 1.1 meters long, while the females are a little smaller, with an average length of 0.9 meters.
The males, although they are not really much bigger as we saw, Weight about 100 kilograms more than their female counterparts.
Altogether, the giant tortoises of Aldabra are slow-moving animals, having thick, short and round legs, in addition to flat feet, which helps them move relatively easily in the sand.
Distribution and habitat
The giant tortoise of Aldabra inhabits mainly in the meadows and marshes of the islands of the Aldabra atoll.
Many of them were hunted to extinction during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Although the giant tortoise of Aldabra is generally found in areas of dense vegetation and low altitude.
You can find him walking in rocky, sparsely vegetated regions when food is scarce.
This species also usually find themselves resting in the shade, or in a very shallow pool of water to cool off in the heat.
Behavior and lifestyle
You can observe them individually as well as in flocks, since they tend to congregate, mainly in open pastures.
The giant tortoise of Aldabra is usually more active in the mornings.
Time of day in which it spends more time looking for food to avoid the high temperatures of the afternoon.
Similarly, the specie dig underground burrows or rest in marshes, to stay cool during the heat of the day.
Despite being a slow and cautious animal, this turtle is happy in the presence of people in its environment.
which indicates why it was so easy to hunt it by the old settlers of the area.
Simply, the giant of Aldabra had no fear of them or avoid interaction, making it easier for the hunter.
Reproduction and life cycles
The female Aldabra tortoise lays up to 25 eggs between February and May, in a dry and shallow nest that previously digs in the ground.
The little-worked attributes of the nest make it very vulnerable to being destroyed by the predators in the area.
That the females of the species are capable of producing more than one litter per year, and that the eggs generally hatch after an incubation period of eight months.
The giant tortoise babies of Aldabra tend to emerge all of their eggs during the same two week period, which coincides with the arrival of the rainy season.
These reptiles are slow-growing and often do not reach sexual maturity until they are between 20 and 30 years old.
Although some specimens have lived more than 250 years, most live between 80 and 120.
Spends much of its time browsing food that surrounds its environment of abundant vegetation.
This is why you can also call him “Turtle Turf”, which are areas that include more than 20 species of grass and different grasses.
The species also feeds on leaves, fruits and berries of the surrounding vegetation, which is facilitated by the possibility of standing on its hind legs and accessing slightly higher candies.
One of the greatest blows to the species was the introduction of domestic animals on the islands, since they began to compete with him for food.
Goats are known to graze very quickly, and in this scenario they have devoured vast areas of the turtle’s natural habitat in their own way.