Giant Tortoise adoption comes with:
The fee for adopting an animal is based on a 3 month contribution to provide food, heating and enclosure maintenance, animal husbandry costs and veterinary fees for your favourite animals. You will also be assisting ongoing conservation projects at Exmoor Zoo.
You will receive
- An adopters certificate
- A complimentary zoo admission ticket for two people to visit the zoo (value £29.90 as of 2019)
- A name plaque in our tunnel of fame for one year
- A photograph of your favourite animal
- Periodic zoo news updates
Any individual Zoo Animal can be adopted, but this is limited to 4 adoptions per year (one adoption per person for each 3 months of the year - maximum of 4 per year).
If this is a gift please note this in delivery instructions and use the delivery address to send the adoption package to.
Giant tortoises are from two remote groups of tropical islands: the Aldabra Atoll and Fregate Island in Seychelles and the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador. These tortoises can weigh as much as 417 kg (919 lb) and can grow to be 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) long. Giant tortoises originally made their way to islands from the mainland via oceanic dispersal; for example, the Aldabra Atoll and Mascarenes giant tortoises are related to Madagascan tortoises while the Galapagos giant tortoises are related to South American mainland tortoises. Tortoises are aided in such dispersal by their ability to float with their heads up, and to survive up to six months without food or fresh water.
The phenomenon of animal species evolving in cache to unusually large size on islands (in comparison to continental relatives) is known as island gigantism or insular gigantism. This may occur due to factors such as relaxed predation pressure, competitive release, or as an adaptation to increased environmental fluctuations on islands. However, giant tortoises are no longer considered to be classic examples of island gigantism, as similarly massive tortoises are now known to have once been widespread. Giant tortoises were formerly common (prior to the Quaternary extinctions) across the Cenozoic faunas of Eurasia, Africa and the Americas.
Although often considered examples of island gigantism, prior to the arrival of Homo sapiens giant tortoises also occurred in non-island locales, as well as on a number of other, more accessible islands. During the Pleistocene, and mostly during the last 50,000 years, tortoises of the mainland of southern Asia (Megalochelys atlas), North America and South America, Indonesia, Madagascar (Aldabrachelys), and even the island of Malta became extinct. The giant tortoises formerly of Africa died out somewhat earlier, during the Late Pliocene. While the timing of the disappearances of various extinct giant tortoise species seems to correlate with the arrival of humans, direct evidence for human involvement in these extinctions is usually lacking; however, such evidence has been obtained in the case of the distantly-related giant meiolaniid turtle Meiolania damelipi in Vanuatu. One interesting relic is the shell of an extinct giant tortoise found in a submerged sinkhole in Florida with a wooden spear piercing it, carbon dated to 12,000 years ago.[better source needed] Today, only one of the species of the Indian Ocean survives in the wild; the Aldabra giant tortoise (two more are claimed to exist in captive or re-released populations, but some[vague] genetic studies have cast doubt on the validity of these as separate species) and 10 extant species in the Galápagos.