Paignton Zoo is home to five Aldabra giant tortoises: males Elvis and Timmy, and females Miley, Cleo and Dora.
Our gentle giants are very special – they were confiscated by Customs from an illegal importation back in 1986 and have been enjoying a peaceful life at the zoo ever since! The Aldabra giant tortoise lives on the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, in open grassy areas with trees and bushes, scrubland and mangrove swamps.
In the wild they feed primarily on vegetation, but they are opportunistic and will also feed on invertebrates and carrion. Our group feed on a mixture of vegetation, including grass, browse, plants and green vegetables.
Giant tortoises are known for their slow movement and are believed to be one of the longest living animals in the world, with some individuals living up to 200 years!
They are active by day, basking for periods of time when it is warm. There is no strict hierarchy and individuals can live happily in groups or be solitary.
Incubation period and sex of the offspring of Aldabra giant tortoises depends on the temperature that they’re kept at. In warm temperatures, eggs hatch in about 110 days, whereas they take 250 days to hatch in cool temperatures. Males develop at lower temperatures (20–27°C) and females at higher temperatures (30°C+).
The Aldabra Atoll is protected by the Seychelles Islands Foundation. There are some conservation breeding programmes, mainly on the Seychelles and Mauritius, to protect this species and ensure its survival. Their current threats include climate change, habitat destruction and hunting.
Sponsor a giant tortoise
You can make a real difference to the care of our large reptiles at the zoo and our conservation work by sponsoring a giant tortoise.
Our sponsorship packs make a wonderful gift for animal lovers of any age. Prices start from as little as £35 per year (that’s less than £3 per month!) with three different packs to choose from.
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