Meet Helen, Mike, Biggy and Twiggy
Aldabra giant tortoises are one of the largest species of tortoise in the world. Once found across the Seychelles, they were hunted until they became restricted to only one island. They have recently been reintroduced to a few of the smaller islands in the Seychelles to help restore ecosystems. Giant tortoises are incredible island ecosystem engineers as they are often the only grazing animal and the primary seed disperser. Their presence keeps landscapes open and helps plants to germinate and grow. You can meet the Aldabra giant tortoises, Helen, Mike, Biggy and Twiggy, in the tortoise tunnel next to Butterfly Kaleidoscope.
largest recorded Aldabra tortoise
Meet the tortoises
Biggy - the gentle giant
Male. Hatched between 1950 and 1960 (estimated). Weight: over 200kg. Favourite food: freshly cut foliage. Biggy has a darker shell. He is often found sleeping or bathing and is the largest of our group.
Twiggy - stubbon
Female. Hatched between 1950 and 1960 (estimated). Weight: 78.4kg. Favourite food: red peppers. Twiggy has a rounded, bumpy shell. She used to live at Jersey Zoo in the 1960s and is the smallest of the four.
Helen - confident and inquisitive
Female. Hatched in 1982. Weight: 114.3kg. Favourite food: celery. Helen has a split at the front of her shell. She often has food on her face and is the second smallest of our four tortoises.
Mike - shy but friendly
Male. Hatched 3 November 1998. Weight: 133.5kg. Favourite food: flowers. Mike has the spikiest shell. He is the second largest of our group.
Aldabra tortoises are helping Mauritian islands
Giant tortoises were once found across Mauritius and its surrounding islands but sadly these tortoises are now extinct. Round Island has many plant species that have adapted and evolved to the presence of tortoises and relied on them for seed dispersal. When tortoises disappeared from the island due to hunting, the plant life began to suffer. Alongside our partners in Mauritius, we’ve been introducing Aldabra tortoises to Round Island and other Mauritian islands since 2007. This has helped plant species to thrive and other species to benefit from these ecosystem engineers.
Help us care for our Aldabra giant tortoises