Chelonia Pathways - A new home for the tortoises

Animal Encounters' newest animal enclosure

Visitors can now wander a pathway leading through the recently opened, new home for a 'creep' of Aldabra tortoises.

Named 'Chelonia Pathways - Breeding and Conservation Centre' by keepers, the new habitat gives the tortoises lots more space, which is important due to the considerable amount of growing the five youngsters still have to do. 

The new house features underfloor heating, deep sand and soil which is excellent for digging, and large water pools. This unique enclosure allows visitors the opportunity to view these prehistoric reptiles both indoors and outdoors. Special ultraviolet lighting indoors benefits the tortoises' growth and general health, and the outdoor area of the enclosure is so large that Albert, Harold, Ken, Flo and Gordon will have no problem finding spots to bask in the sunshine. 

The Aldabra tortoises arrived at Woburn Safari Park in 2011 and are all now eight years old. It's difficult to predict just how long Aldabra tortoises live for, as this can be over 100 years and the animals tend to outlive their keepers. 

Aldabra tortoises are one of the few species that can swim. The large pool in the new enclosure has both shallow and deep ends for them to demonstrate their natural wallowing and swimming behaviour.

All five of the tortoises have very individual characters and it is easy for their keepers to tell them apart. Occassionally, when the keepers are cleaning out the enclosure, the tortoises will approach for a little TLC - either a neck or shell scratch!