“Aldabra-cadabra” Jersey Zoo’s latest giant residents

Publish date: 31 Mar 2023

Jersey Zoo have welcomed four Aldabra giant tortoises; Twiggy, Mike, Helen and Biggie. They arrived at Jersey Zoo in November from Bristol Zoo and have been in quarantine until now.

Since arriving, they have settled into their brand-new enclosure, named the Tortoise Tunnel. This facility was built specifically with this species in mind and is kept at a balmy 30°C, with a humidity of 80%. It has large indoor and outdoor spaces for tortoises and visitors and even a heated pond for the animals to bathe in.

Aldabra giant tortoises can live for over 150 years, with some shells reaching over 1 metre long. Most impressively though is their hefty weight. Biggie, the largest of the four arrivals is now the heaviest animal at the zoo, weighing over 200kg and overtaking Badongo the silverback gorilla.

Twiggy, one of the two females, is also no stranger to Jersey Zoo and has lived there previously. Originally brought to the zoo by Gerald Durrell himself, she lived in Jersey between 1965 and 1975, before going to Bristol Zoo.

Twiggy the Aldabra tortoise at Jersey Zoo

Speaking on the arrival of these giant tortoises, Matt Goetz, Curator of Herpetology & Invertebrates at Jersey Zoo commented: “We are really excited to have Aldabra tortoises back at Jersey Zoo. Not only are they fascinating to look at and learn about, but they also play an important role in our conservation work around the world. We have been working with Aldabra tortoises for many years in our island restoration programme around Mauritius, helping to restore vital ecosystems that have been lost due to the extinction of native tortoises. We’re looking forward to welcoming visitors to our brand-new enclosure, so they can find out more about this impressive species.”

Aldabra giant tortoises, together with their distantly related cousins the Galapagos giant tortoise, are the largest species of tortoise in the world. Once found across the Seychelles, they were hunted for food until they became restricted to only the Aldabra atoll. They have recently been reintroduced to a few of the smaller islands in the Seychelles to help restore ecosystems.

Durrell have been working with Aldabra tortoises for over 20 years and introduced them to Ile aux Aigrettes and Round Island, two islands in Mauritius Here they play a vital role in restoring the ecosystem that was heavily affected by the extinction of their native giant tortoise species in the 18th century. There are now just over 800 Aldabra giant tortoises free roaming on Round Island, thanks to the work of Durrell and their local partners.

You can find Twiggy, Mike, Helen and Biggie in Jersey Zoo’s new Tortoise Tunnel, which is next to the Butterfly Kaleidoscope.

For more news from Jersey Zoo, please see here: Durrell.org/news

Latest news

21 Nov 2023

12 Bays of Christmas Opening Swim

Jersey Hospice Care and The National Trust for Jersey will be launching this year’s festive sea swimming challenge the 12 Bays of Christmas.
31 Oct 2023

Visit Jersey Board Appoints New Non-Executive Directors

The Visit Jersey Board is delighted to announce the appointment of Claire Bentley and Daniel Rowles, as Non-Executive Directors to replace board members who are retiring by rotation.
A picture of food and drink inside the Greenhills Country House website
27 Oct 2023

Greenhills Country House Hotel and Restaurant awarded a second AA Rosette

Greenhills Country House Hotel and Restaurant, is delighted to announce the acceptance of its second AA Rosette.
26 Oct 2023

Société welcomes public for local research Open Day

Jersey’s oldest heritage organisation is opening its doors to the public for Islanders to discover more about and get involved with the academic research it carries out as it launches a special award in memory of a local environmentalist.
Durrell logo
25 Oct 2023

Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust reveals major new Scottish rewilding project

A 18,500-acre estate in Perthshire is set to be the home of a 100-year rewilding project managed by the international charity established by renowned conservationist and author Gerald Durrell.
18 Oct 2023

New exhibition and free entry pilot for Jersey Museum

There are exciting times ahead for Jersey Museum, Art Gallery & Victorian House with a major new exhibition in the pipeline, as well as a free entry pilot.
17 Oct 2023

Visit Jersey welcomes 120 tourism and hospitality partners to Destination Jersey 2023

Three-day industry event attracts travel operators from the UK and Europe to meet local businesses, network, and experience Jersey.
06 Oct 2023

Celebrate World Calvados Day!

People will have the opportunity to enjoy Calvados & apple-based drinks and some nibbles provided by Maison de la Normandie et de la Manche.
A Blue Islands plane external, in flight.
04 Oct 2023

Blue Islands Trial Isle of Man Service

Blue Islands are to trial direct flights between Jersey and the Isle of Man (with Guernsey connections).
04 Oct 2023

Booking for Condor Ferries’ 2023/24 winter schedule is now live

Condor Ferries has launched its winter schedule for 2023/24. The Condor fleet now includes the introduction of a second conventional passenger and freight vessel, Condor Islander, which will operate alongside the Commodore Clipper and their high-speed ships.
Adam Braithwaite and Will Holland from The Atlantic Hotel and Ocean Restaurant
03 Oct 2023

5 Michelin Stars for the Eat Jersey Food Festival 2024

The Atlantic Hotel and Ocean Restaurant in Jersey is delighted to announce that the Eat Jersey Food festival will return for 2024.
Jars of Black Butter from Jersey
03 Oct 2023

Black Butter – Lé Nièr Beurre

The National Trust for Jersey will once again be making ‘Black Butter’ at The Elms, La Chève Rue, St. Mary with cider apples from its orchards this week.