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Aldabra Giant Tortoise

Aldabrachelys gigantea

Description:

The Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea), from the islands of the Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles, is one of the largest tortoises in the world. The carapace is a brown or tan color with a high, domed shape. It has stocky, heavily scaled legs to support its heavy body. The neck of the Aldabra giant tortoise is very long, even for its great size, which helps the animal to exploit tree branches up to a meter from the ground as a food source. Similar in size to the famous Galápagos giant tortoise, its carapace averages 105 cm (41 in) in length with an average weight of 120 kg (260 lb). Females are generally smaller than males, with average specimens measuring 90 cm (35 in) in length and weighing 150 kg (330 lb).

Habitat:

A peculiar kind of habitat has coevolved due to the grazing pressures of the tortoises: "tortoise turf", a comingling of 20+ species of grasses and herbs. Many of these distinct plants are naturally dwarfed and grow their seeds not from the tops of the plants, but closer to the ground to avoid the tortoises' close-cropping jaws. As the largest animal in its environment, the Aldabra tortoise performs a role similar to that of the elephant. Their vigorous search for food fells trees and creates pathways used by other animals.

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Seychelles

Spotted on Mar 20, 2014
Submitted on Nov 14, 2014

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