2018 Toronto Zoo. New Aldabra Tortoise Outdoor Exhibit

Friday, June 29, 2018 11:00:00 PM

One of the largest species of tortoise in the world has returned to the Toronto Zoo’s African Rainforest Pavilion. Whether it’s their indoor mixed-species habitat they share with the ring-tailed lemurs or their newly built outdoor habitat, these magnificent creatures are sure to impress.
The new Outdoor Aldabra Tortoise Habitat offers our tortoises a wonderful home with grassy areas, a shelter with radiant heat overhead and a heated floor plus a shallow pool to keep them comfortable. Tortoises, like all reptiles, are ectotherms which means they get the body heat necessary for all aspects of their metabolism from their environment, usually from the sun. The radiant heat overhead and heated floors is for cool nights and rainy cool days so we can provide this vital heat resource.

The Aldabra tortoises are native to Aldabra Atoll, one of the Seychelles islands north of Madagascar. Aldabra tortoises have long necks which helps them reach succulent flowers and leaves on high branches. Their hind legs are thick like those of an elephant and their head is relatively small, pointed and covered by scales. Aldabra tortoises are able to go without food or water for long periods. They are grazers and browsers, feeding mainly on grasses and woody plants. However, in times of drought when food is scarce they have been known to eat carrion when it is available.

The three Aldabra tortoises, who left the Toronto Zoo in 1999, return as the largest tortoises in Canada with male Rasputin weighing in at over 186 kg and females Queenie at 75.8 kg, and Malila at 69.3 kg. The life span for this species is typically between 80 and 120 years with our three tortoises range from 40-50 years of age.

SOURCE: Toronto Zoo

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