This tortoise is the largest animal on the Aldabra Island atoll. It fills a similar role to the one occupied by elephants in Africa and Asia. As with elephants, they are the main consumers of vegetation and will noticeably alter the habitat during their search for food. Tortoises have been known to knock over small trees and shrubs to obtain nutritious leaves. Seeds pass through the tortoise’s digestive tract and eventually become food for many other species.
Aldabra tortoises are able to go without food or water for long periods. They are grazers and browsers, feeding mainly on grasses and woody plants. However, they will eat meat when it is available and possibly even eat the carcasses of dead tortoises. They may also eat feces.
At the Zoo, Aldabra tortoises eat salad and hay three days per week. In the summer, they have access to the outdoor enclosure where they graze on grass and weeds. Their diet is supplemented with cactus pad, carrots, sweet potatoes and assorted browse.