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TORTOISE WHISPERER

If you're looking to buy an Aldabra or two (or twenty), look no further. You can be in no better hands than those of the Indian Ocean's own Tortoise Whisperer! With over 40 years of first-hand experience in passionately raising these gentle giants, our licensed specialist Aldabra breeder offers you genuine little islanders that have had the best start to life.

- Captive-bred in their native Seychelles
- Fed a balanced, organic island diet
- Natural, healthy growth rate
- Well started and past the early fragile stage
- Active, robust and full of energy

It would be our pleasure to make your Aldabra dream come true. Buy breeder-direct for the best prices and we'll arrange for your mini giant to travel safely from the Seychelles Islands to you.
We're experts at exports!

IN A TORTOISE SHELL

Aldabra tortoises, the world's longest lived animals with a lifespan of 250 years old, are hiding a lot under their shells that most people don’t know ...

The original wild population of the Aldabra tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) can be found on the remote Aldabra Atoll, a protected area and UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982, situated in the western part of the Seychelles archipelago of 115 islands. It is very likely that Aldabra hosts the highest levels of reptile biomass found anywhere.

They are one of the largest giant tortoise species in the world where males can measure more than 120 cm in carapace length and can reach a hefty 250 kg and a female 150 kg. Amazingly, the wild population of giant tortoises on Aldabra, which fluctuates between 100,000 and 150,000, is greater than the entire human population of the Seychelles Islands!

These tortoises are survivalists because it is no mean feat maintaining these kinds of numbers in a harsh environment such as Aldabra. The atoll is an arid grouping of islands comprised of sharp, jagged and raised coral rocks, has sparse vegetation and brackish water ponds. They can survive several months without food and water largely due to being cold-blooded animals with very low metabolic rates. Aldabra is home to over 200 plant species, including a special community of low-fruiting herbaceous plants called 'tortoise turf' that is specially adapted to withstand grazing by giant tortoises.

There were once 14 species of giant tortoises in the world, but man managed to eat his way through 12 of them. They were hunted to extinction because they made a tasty meal for both early hunters and in later times sailors crossing the world’s oceans on limited rations. The slow-moving giant tortoises were easy game with great quantities of meat and fat and because they could be kept alive for months without food and water, they made an excellent captive prey for eating when needed. Today, the two surviving species are native to the Seychelles and the Galapagos.

Giant tortoises have the ability to survive extended periods of time at sea because of their natural buoyancy. By design, they have very thin bones in their shells, which, combined with having their lungs in the top bit of the carapace, gives them this natural buoyancy that allows them to float, (rather than actually swim). In general, the giant tortoises love fresh water and will often go into the water to cool down. Mangrove areas at low tide are a favourite, especially to forage on mangrove plants and seeds. There is the risk of being swept out to sea if they don’t get back to the ‘mainland’ of the atoll in time. No doubt this is how many tortoises got to Aldabra, and many other islands, in the first place. All it takes is one female with eggs inside to start a new population on a new island. Now that’s girl power for you!

Aldabra tortoises are able to help other endemic species due to their gregarious nature, knocking over small trees and shrubs to obtain nutritious leaves, making pathways and clearings for other animals. They also help to disperse seeds unique only to the atoll such as the Aldabra tomato, Solanum aldabrense. With this type of mutualistic interaction in seed dispersal, the animal gets a meal out it (and energy), and the plants get their seeds spread out over a large area when the animals defecate, which increases the likelihood of the seeds germinating and growing into adult plants themselves. Such harmony in Mother Nature can only be admired.

ENCLOSURE & EXERCISE

The decision to care for an Aldabra is as giant as the tortoise itself and should be made with careful consideration. This species can eat you out of house and home and it won't be long before the entire garden gets included as well.

The size of the enclosure is very important to ensure the well-being of your tortoise(s). They tend to move around a lot so you will need to ensure the enclosure is big enough, especially if you have more than one animal in captivity. An ideal enclosure for a mature animal will be four times the size of the animal. The enclosure should ideally have an area for bathing such as a pool of mud, an area for drinking water, an area for feeding and an area that provides protection from the sun. The floor of the enclosure should not be concretized but rather left with natural grasses or soil. Tortoises need exercise. Their enclosure should be big enough to let them walk around freely.

IDEAL TEMPS: These islanders thrive best in temps averaging 75 - 85 F. They also come from a humid region, therefore it is recommended that you maintain these conditions. Use supplemental heating if you live in a colder area. Aldabras are highly adaptable and will tolerate lower temperatures than what they are used to, however, they will be far happier with the warmer temperatures that replicate their tropical homeland.

FOOD & WATER

EATING: Tortoises enjoy a wide variety of leaves, grasses, vegetables and fruits. Fresh grass is important for tortoise health as it provides fibre to the diet and cleanses the intestines. A calcium supplement, (in the form of dicalcium phosphate), will prevent weak muscles and carapace deterioration. Tortoises should always have food available in their pen. If you give a tortoise anything besides leaves and grasses, be sure that you present the food on a clean elevated surface that you wash off between meals. Make sure the food does not come in contact with the bare earth. When tortoises accidentally consume sand and mud, they can suffer from an impacted gut and get very sick.

DRINKING: Tortoises need a plentiful supply of clean water for drinking. Supply of clean drinking water should be done every two days.

BATHING: Tortoises like to soak in pools of water; some even fall sleep with their heads under water! They also like to wallow in pools of mud.

DID YOU KNOW ...

Did you know that Aldabra tortoises drink through their noses!? Living in the dry conditions of Aldabra atoll, giant tortoises have adapted by drinking through their nose to reach water in shallow pools that would be inaccessible by mouth.

Giant tortoises are slow growing and should not be fed on diets that speed up their growth unnaturally. A slow growth also produces a well-formed carapace, with the most magic of ingredients being plenty of water, a well-balanced diet and sunshine.

When frightened, the tortoise will pull its head and limbs into its shell and making a hissing sound. This is not a defensive measure but rather the sound of air being pushed out of its lungs to make space for its head and limbs.

Giant tortoises do not like people riding them. Never scrape the shell of the tortoise between the scutes. This is very painful for the tortoise, and makes it more prone to diseases.

The gentle giants are toothless and have beaks like birds, as well as elephantine feet to support their enormous weight.

 

Mostly active in the early to mid-morning and late afternoon, they spend those periods searching for food and seem to prefer open grasslands. During the heat of the day, they rest in the shade or soak in water pools to stay cool.

Male tortoises have a concave plastron to facilitate mating. Aldabras breed between February and May. From around April, females will start to lay anywhere from 8 - 25 eggs, and are capable of laying up to 3 clutches a year. They lay their eggs in the ground, digging the nest with their rear legs. Usually only about 50% of the eggs are fertile. After incubating for approx. 150 days, the hatchlings emerge between October and December.

Aldabra tortoises are not only smart, personable, and entertaining, they are also social creatures and fare better when they live with others of their own kind. If you plan on getting an Aldabra, it would be a good idea to try and add another for company in the future.

Aldabras make for an incredible and unique heirloom pet, one that can be a part of your family for generations to come. Since they're likely to outlive you, it would be wise to make arrangements for their long-term love and care.

CARAPACE COSMETICS

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Mother Nature sometimes has a little fun adding or dividing scutes. These variations are purely cosmetic and often go unnoticed by tortoise admirers. For easy selection, we've categorized our tortoises as follows:

A = Perfect Scutes
B = Almost Perfect (nice-looking double scute)
C = Regular Double/Extra Scute

If aesthetics and perfection are not an issue and you care more about the tortoise being perfectly healthy, then you'll be happy to know that the B and C categories will not disappoint. All our tortoises are 100% healthy and active whether they are perfect, imperfectly perfect or perfectly imperfect!

PLACING YOUR ORDER

To commence shipping preparations, we require a 50% deposit on all tortoise orders. Balance to be paid prior to shipping.

We offer a 7-day grace period should you wish to cancel your order, less a $100 handling fee. Once this grace period has lapsed, all deposits will be non-refundable.

Payment is via international wire transfer.

SHIPPING & HANDLING (S&H)

Export S&H fees are quoted on a per order basis and cover the following:

- CITES Permit
- Export Permit
- Seychelles (Vet-Certified) Health Certificate
- Certificate Of Origin
- Custom-made shipping box to IATA specifications
- Export documentation, preparation, boxing
- Transfers
- Seychelles Broker
- International airfreight, handling & transit fees



Island Breeder & International Exporter

We ship worldwide

TORTOISE TALK!  🐢
We welcome the opportunity to chat with you about your order via Skype or WhatsApp.
Due to different time zones, kindly drop us a note to arrange a mutually convenient time.