How to Care for an Aldabra Giant Tortoise

The Aldabra giant tortoise is one of the largest and longest-living species of tortoise in the world. With a history that spans over 100 million years, this species has survived extinction events and human interference to become one of the most iconic reptiles on Earth. Let’s take a closer look at this incredible species.

While the Aldabra giant tortoise is a popular species, it’s important to also learn about other fascinating turtles such as the Florida softshell turtle.

How to Care for an Aldabra Giant Tortoise?

Aldabra giant tortoises are not easy to care for and require a lot of specialized attention. They need a large enclosure that is well-ventilated and heated, with plenty of space for them to move around and explore.

A diet rich in dark leafy greens such as collards, kale, and dandelion should make up the bulk of their diet, supplemented with proteins such as legumes, insects, and fruits.

The enclosure should also include a shallow pool for soaking and swimming, as well as plenty of substrate for digging and burrowing. Lastly, the enclosure should be kept clean to ensure that your tortoise has a healthy environment in which to live.
While the Aldabra giant tortoise is one of the largest tortoise species in the world, it is not to be confused with the common musk turtle. Learn more about the common musk turtle by clicking on this link.

Historical Context

Before 1840, multiple island tortoise species inhabited the islands of the Indian Ocean—but none as large as Aldabra Giant Tortoise. While some of these other species were able to survive due to their smaller size or ability to hide away from human activity, they eventually were driven to extinction due to over-exploitation by humans for food or other resources.

Fortunately, however, Aldabra Giant Tortoise was able to avoid this fate thanks to its isolation on Aldabra Atoll—which was uninhabited until 1810—and its sheer size; humans could not easily capture it or transport it off the island.
While the Aldabra giant tortoise is one of the largest tortoise species in the world, it is not to be confused with the black softshell turtle found on

Physical Characteristics

Aldabra giant tortoises are among the largest species in their family, reaching lengths of up to 39 inches and weighing up to 550 pounds! Their shells are dome-shaped and can be dark brown or black in color. They possess unique adaptations for survival such as long necks and legs that allow them to reach food sources high off of the ground, as well as large webbed feet that help them swim during floods.

Behavior in Different Environments

Aldabra giant tortoises are most active during the day when temperatures are warmest. They will move around looking for food or basking spots depending on their environment. In habitats with plenty of food sources, they tend to move slowly and take frequent stops along their path.

In areas where food is scarce, they may travel long distances over several days searching for sustenance.

When it comes to behaviors, Aldabra giant tortoises tend to be quite docile when handled by humans but can become aggressive if threatened or disturbed too much. Like other reptiles, they communicate through body language such as head bobbing or arm waving, and make loud hissing noises when threatened.

Human Interaction with Aldabra Giant Tortoises

The presence of the Aldabra giant tortoise has had both positive and negative impacts on local ecosystems depending on whether their population size is stable or declining due to human activity.

For example, where populations are healthy they can help reduce vegetation growth which prevents fires from spreading across landscapes.

On the other hand, when populations decline due to hunting or habitat destruction they can cause ecosystems to become unbalanced leading to invasive plant species taking over areas which leads to further habitat degradation for other animals who rely on that area for shelter or food sources.

Conservation Efforts To Protect The Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Due to their precarious status in many parts of their range, there have been numerous conservation efforts undertaken by governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and international treaties designed specifically for saving this species from extinction or near extinction levels such as CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).

These efforts include protecting habitats from destruction or exploitation through land rights laws; reintroducing individuals into islands where it’s extinct or endangered; creating captive breeding programs; educating locals about sustainable hunting practices; and increasing awareness about this amazing species through media campaigns etc.

The Diet of the Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Aldabra giant tortoises are unique creatures that require a specific diet in order to stay healthy and active. Their diet consists mostly of leafy greens and vegetables supplemented with occasional protein sources such as boiled eggs or cooked chicken for treats. Feeding your pet Aldabra giant tortoise properly will ensure it lives a long and happy life!

Leaves and Grass

The Aldabra giant tortoise enjoys eating leaves, grasses, and other vegetation. They have very strong beaks that are specially designed for tearing apart tough vegetation. In the wild, they will typically consume whatever vegetation is available to them in their environment. If an Aldabra giant tortoise is kept as a pet, then its owner should try to provide a variety of leafy greens such as kale, collard greens, mustard greens, turnip greens, endive lettuce, cabbage, and even dandelion leaves.

Fruits and Vegetables

In addition to leafy greens, these tortoises also enjoy eating fruits and vegetables. Some of their favorites include apples (without seeds), bananas, squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and bell peppers. Pet owners should avoid giving their tortoises any citrus fruits or tomatoes since these can potentially cause stomach upset or other digestive issues in some animals. It’s also important to remember that all food should be cut up into small pieces before being fed to an Aldabra giant tortoise since they do not chew their food as other animals do.


Although not strictly necessary for an Aldabra giant tortoise’s diet, providing some protein sources can help keep them healthy and active. Protein sources such as boiled eggs or cooked chicken can be offered sparingly—no more than once a week—as treats for your pet tortoise. Fish is another good source of protein but should only be offered occasionally due to its high-fat content which can lead to obesity in some animals.

How Do They Reproduce?

Aldabra giant tortoises are believed to be among the longest-lived species on the planet, with some individuals living up to 100 years or more. That being said, they tend to reach sexual maturity at ages 10-15 (for males) and 20-30 (for females). Females lay between 4-8 eggs per clutch and can lay up to 7 clutches per year. The eggs take around 120 days to hatch.

Mating System

The mating system of Aldabra giant tortoises relies heavily on courtship rituals between the male and female. The males use their long necks to reach out toward the females, while the females often signal their willingness to mate by hissing or cooing sounds. After mating has occurred, the female will then search for an ideal nesting site where she can lay her eggs safely.

Environment Needed for Proper Reproduction

Aldabra giant tortoises need a warm and humid environment in order for proper reproduction to occur. The temperature should ideally range from 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-29 degrees Celsius) with high humidity levels of 80%. The soil should be rich in organic matter as well as calcium carbonate so that it is able to provide adequate nutrients for hatching eggs. Additionally, there should be plenty of vegetation nearby so that the Aldabra giant tortoises have access to food sources when needed.

How Long Do Aldabra Giant Tortoises Live?

The typical life expectancy of an Aldabra giant tortoise can range from 75-100 years. It has been documented that some specimens live even longer than this, with one turtle named Jonathan living to a ripe old age of 188! While it is difficult to predict exactly how long an individual tortoise may live, the overall lifespan of this species is quite long.

Other Influences That Could Affect The Lifespan

Apart from genetics and age, there are several other factors that can influence the lifespan of an Aldabra giant tortoise. A healthy diet is essential for maintaining good health and increasing the chances of a longer life span.

In captivity, these turtles should be fed a balanced diet consisting of leafy green vegetables such as kale and collard greens, as well as fruits such as apples and oranges.

Additionally, proper hydration is important for keeping your pet healthy and preventing dehydration which can lead to serious health issues. Finally, regular veterinary visits can help identify potential health issues early on and help keep your pet in tip-top shape!

Common Health Problems

If you’re a pet owner, you know that taking care of your animals requires more than just feeding them. In the case of Aldabra Giant Tortoises, they need special attention and care due to their unique physical make up and health needs. Here are some of the common health problems associated with Aldabra Giant Tortoises, as well as tips on how to minimize their risk of developing these issues.

Shell Rotting

Shell rot is something that all tortoises need to be watched out for, but it’s especially important for Aldabras. This is because their shells are particularly prone to rotting due to their high water content. To prevent this from happening, keep your tortoise’s shell dry and clean by regularly washing it with mild soap and using an air blower or fan to dry it off afterward. You should also avoid keeping your tortoise in humid environments as this can increase the chances of shell rot occurring.

Respiratory Infections

Aldabra Giant Tortoises are especially vulnerable to respiratory infections due to their long necks and wide mouths, which allow moisture and airborne bacteria into their bodies easily. To prevent respiratory infections from occurring, make sure that the air around your tortoise is clean and free from pollutants such as dust or cigarette smoke. If your tortoise begins displaying signs of a respiratory infection such as wheezing or sneezing, take them to a vet right away for treatment.


Parasites can be a problem for any type of reptile, including Aldabras, so it’s important to watch out for them. Signs that your tortoise may have parasites include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy. If you suspect that your tortoise has parasites, take them immediately to the vet for diagnosis and treatment. Regular deworming treatments can help prevent parasites from taking hold in the first place.

The Basics of Housing Aldabra Giant Tortoises

Aldabra giant tortoises need a lot of space in order to thrive, and they’re most comfortable in a terrarium of at least 10 square feet per animal. If you have multiple tortoises, then the size of the terrarium should increase accordingly. The environment should also be kept warm—ideally between 78°F and 82°F—and humid (at least 50% humidity). A UVB light should also be included and placed no more than 12 inches from the top of the enclosure.

Substrate for Aldabras

The substrate used in an Aldabra giant tortoise enclosure is just as important as the size and temperature of the terrarium itself. The substrate should be absorbent and non-toxic; cypress mulch is often recommended because it holds moisture well while also allowing excess waste to drain away easily.

If possible, try to avoid using peat-based substrates since they tend to become very compacted over time which makes it difficult for your tortoise’s legs and feet to move freely. Instead, opt for something like coconut fiber or even play sand that won’t become compacted as easily.

Hiding Places & Furniture

Hiding places are extremely important for Aldabras since they are naturally shy animals that prefer not being on display all the time. Providing plenty of hiding spots will help keep your reptile feeling safe and secure while still allowing them access to food and water when needed.

You can make your own hiding places with things like cardboard boxes or plastic tubs filled with substrate—just make sure that any furniture is securely anchored so that your pet won’t accidentally knock it over while exploring their enclosure!

Additionally, adding logs or rocks can provide additional enrichment by giving your reptile something interesting to explore during their awake hours (which should typically last between 8-12 hours each day).


Aldabra giant tortoises are beautiful creatures with fascinating personalities that make great pets if given enough space, warmth, humidity, UVB lighting, substrate, furniture, and hiding places – all elements which are essential for providing an appropriate habitat for this species of turtle. With proper care and maintenance, your new pet will provide you with hours upon hours of companionship as well as plenty of entertainment! So if you think an Aldabra giant tortoise could be the perfect addition to your family – don’t hesitate! Get started on building your dream home today!

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