Galapagos Islands off of Ecuador in South America
Cactus, fruits, vines, grasses and other vegetation.
Hot and dry islands with sparse vegetation to cooler, wetter islands with lush vegetation.
20 inches (shell length) to 4 feet weighing up to 700 pounds. They have brown shells marked with black patterns. They can pull their heads, tails and legs completely inside their shells. There are two different shell shapes: dome and saddle-backed. Saddle-backed tortoises have longer necks and front legs, which enable them to reach vegetation that is higher off the ground.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Galapagos tortoises are extremely peaceful creatures. They spend much of the day soaking in the sun to warm their bodies. When the sun goes down and the temperature cools, they sleep half submerged in mud or water or burrowed into dense brush. This keeps the tortoise warm. Tortoises have symbiotic relationships with other animals, such as between the tortoise and the finch. The tortoise will extend its neck to allow the finch to pick off ticks.
MORE ABOUT OUR ANIMALS:
The Zoo is home to two male Galapagos tortoises, Ralph and Mr. Potato Head. Mr. Potato Head arrived from the Oklahoma City Zoo on June 5, 1991. Ralph moved to El Paso from the Phoneix Zoo on October 27, 2016.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED IN CONSERVATION EFFORTS:
Read about Galapagos tortoises online and check out books from your local library. Become a member of the El Paso Zoological Society. Funds raised by the Society are used to support conservation efforts at the El Paso Zoo and in the wild. Plan a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Ecotourism revenues help to protect these tortoises and many other animals on this famous chain of islands.
JUST FOR KIDS: The El Paso Zoo offers a behind the scenes group tour that allows visitors to go inside the Galapagos tortoise exhibit. Participants need to be 7 years and up. If the scheduled program does not fit your schedule you can request a special program date. Minimum participation requirements apply. To learn more about how you can make a reservation visit www.elpasozoo.org/zooadventure.