The Aldabra tortoise is the second largest tortoise in the world. The largest is the Galapagos tortoise. They can weigh more than 500 pounds,
with a shell more than five feet long. Males are much larger than females. They have long necks that extend out to be able to reach plants that grow up to three feet tall. They are active during the day, but try to avoid the midday heat by cooling off in ponds or mud holes or hanging out in the shade under a tree.
The Aldabra tortoise is the last known survivor of a group of giant tortoises
once found on Madagascar and the Seychelles Islands. People over-hunted the
other species, wiping them out completely. The Aldabra tortoise almost suffered
the same fate. Fortunately, the Seychelles government stepped in to protect the remaining
Aldabra tortoises. This protection, combined with an international agreement
that restricts trade in the species, has helped the reptiles begin to recover.