Aldabran tortoise

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Animal File

Common Name:
Aldabran tortoise
Scientific Name:
Dipsochelys dussumieri
Size: 90 - 120 cm
Weight: 150 - 250 kg
Reptiles
Omnivores
Native to Africa
Grasslands and Steppes

Conservation Status

Vulnerable

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 over 100 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.

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Visitor numbers will be limited each day and everyone, including members, will need to book online to guarantee entry. Please ensure your choose the correct date as tickets are non-refundable and dates can not be changed.

Groups of more than 6 visitors will not be permitted to enter the zoo unless all 6 are from the same household.

A face mask or face covering must be worn in all indoor areas of the zoo unless you declare that you have a government listed exemption or are under the age of 11. You may be refused admission if you attempt to visit the zoo without a face covering and don’t declare an exemption.

You can find out everything we're doing to keep our visitors, staff and animals safe here.