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Aldabra Tortoise (Geochelone gigantea)

The main population of wild Aldabra Giant Tortoises reside on the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles. The tortoises exploit many different kinds of habitat including grasslands, low scrubs, mangroves swamps and coastal dunes. Aldabra tortoises are mostly herbivores. In the wild, they eat grass, leaves, plants, stems and other tasty weeds. They will also feed on insects and dead animals, even their own kind. In captivity they will eat grass, flowers, cactus pads, all sorts of leafy greens and commercial tortoise food. They also like fruit and melons.

Keeping Aldabra tortoises outdoors is usually the best way to house them. Hatchlings up to 2 years old can be housed indoors, but once they get beyond that, they need the great outdoors to roam. Aldabra tortoises are adaptable and seem to be very cold tolerant, but they are still going to require supplemental heating to maintain a recommended temperature of 75 to 100 Fahrenheit. These tortoises, while being able to withstand low temperatures, do seem to prefer higher temperatures. High humidity and warmth is the best. They are also able to swim unlike most tortoises. Providing a large wading pool for your giant to bask in is important. Aldabra tortoises consume great amounts of water if it is available.

Aldabra tortoises get very large and live a very long time. They need lots of space, special habitat setups and a bit of care. The tortoises are not domestic or tame, but they are remarkably indifferent to the presence of humans. They do not seem to have any fear of people. Some even seek them out for attention. Some like to have their heads patted, others enjoy having their necks scratched. They make very rewarding pets as long as you have the time and space to dedicate to their needs. You'll more than likely have to arrange for their long-term care in advance since they are probably going to outlive you. They are smart, personable and very entertaining.