Known to live for over 100 years, Galapagos giant tortoises are one of the longest lived vertebrates on Earth. Our herd of tortoises can be found in the Tropical Realm.
These tortoises have a special place in history as Charles Darwin himself famously included Galapagos giant tortoises in his studies of evolution. He found that their shells had different shapes according to where they lived and what they ate.
Our Galapagos giant tortoises have dome-shaped shells which prevent them from stretching their necks upwards. This means they have evolved to survive in areas where food is low on the ground, but they can easily push through thick vegetation. As part of their diet, our tortoises eat dandelions, clover and browse such as willow and lime, which is provided by our Horticulture team.
Our tortoises are part of a European Studbook managed breeding programme. You can have a go at being a Galapagos giant tortoise by climbing into one of our replica shells on the picnic lawn, in front of our Education Centre!