Giant Turtle Aldabra
These remarkable animals were almost extinct 150 years ago, but today they are one of the main attractions of the Seychelles.
They can be as long as meter and a half, weight up to 250 kilograms and they have an armor strong as a rock. This is not some kind of a new military weapon, nor is any extinct animal, but a large turtle Aldabra from Seychelles.
Giant turtles can now be found at only two locations in the world: Galapagos Islands and Seychelles archipelago. Eventhough they are very similar, they’re completely different species. Everyone heard for those in Galapagos, but Seychelles ones are not as familiar. Pirates who ravaged the Indian Ocean were literally devouring them. They were able to withstand the board for nearly six months without food and water, unlike some other animals, so that they were best suited for long trips without entering the port. Today they are protected species, and most of them can be found on Aldabra atoll, home to more than 150.000 of them.
Their shell is dark gray or black and resembles a high cupola. They have stocky and very strong legs to support the great weight. Adult turtles can be truly enormous. Females are generally smaller than males and reach a length of 90 inches and weight around 150 kilograms. They are also recognizable by their long neck. It helps them eat from slightly higher branches.
They breed between February and May, when females lay between 4 and 25 eggs burried in the sand. Its incubation period lasts between 98 and 200 days. They are long-lasting, and many specimens are older than 100 years.
These turtles are usually herbivores and feed mainly on grass, leaves and roots of forest plants. Occasionally allow themselves to eat some invertebrates, dead bodies, and ever bodies of other dead turtles, and, interestingly, only when they are on a diet!
Aldabra turtles live as solitary or in groups when they usually feed in open meadows. They are most active in the morning, while during the day they can be seen digging underground tanks or resting in the punds in order to retain the cold during the hot summer days.
Eventhough their main features are slowness and caution, when their lives are in danger they can achieve astonishing speed for their dimensions. Also, it’s known that they attempt dangerous acrobatic moves such as raising the hind legs to reach high granches. That way they risk to overturn on the back and be unable to turn back, so they can die of starvation.
Despite the heavy weight, they are excellent swimmers. They’re not scared from people, moreover they try to attract attention. Some prefer to be tapped on the head, while others have a great time being scratched around the neck. Just as pets.