Why is the Aldabra giant tortoise special?

The Aldabra giant tortoise is a giant tortoise found in the Aldabra atoll, a ring-shaped coral reef, in the Seychelles. It is the largest tortoise in the world. Males grow up to 1.22 metres and weigh around 250 kg while females grow up to 91.44 centimetres and weigh up to 150 kgs!

It is also the longest living animal in the world. Funnily enough, the average age of this tortoise has never been established. This is because they out live the scientists who study them! So far, they have been observed to live till about 150 years.

The Aldabra tortoise is one of the slowest animals on the planet. It is almost ten times slower than other turtles and moves at a ‘speed’ of 1.01 km per hour. It is a very restful animal and sleeps for nearly 18 hours in a day!

The bony, protective shell covering the back of tortoises is called carapace. The Aldabra giant tortoise’s carapace is dark grey to black. It lives in grasslands called platin and in scrublands and swamps. It likes to eat leaves and fruits when possible. It sticks out its neck to eat from low-lying branches and is even known to knock down small trees to get to the leaves.

Did you know that the Aldabra giant tortoise has the distinction of being one of the first species in the world to be given special protection to ensure its survival? Charles Darwin himself, along with other leading conservationists of the time, made a case to the governor of Mauritius for its protection.

It is a gentle and placid creature and lives a slow and sedentary life. Perhaps that is the secret of its longevity?

Picture Credit : Google

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