Our Aldabran tortoise, Darwin, is very well known with the visitors, not least for his vast size. Aldabran tortoises are the largest species of land tortoise in the world, reaching weights of up to 250 kg. They live a fairly lazy life, only being active for about 4 hours a day!
The lifespan of this species is not known for sure but it is estimated that they may live up to 150 years. Darwin is thought to be about 90 years of age as detailed records of his history are not available. Most people know that you can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings inside the trunk when it’s cut down, but, similarly, the age of a tortoise can be estimated by the “growth rings” on each scale of its shell.
At the zoo, the tortoises enjoy a diet of browse, weeds, vegetables and the occasional fruit treat. Darwin’s favourite is melon. They live in a specially designed house with heating, air conditioning and a pool so that they can cool off in the summer.