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New giant tortoise arrives at Bristol Zoo

Mike is 20 years old and joins the zoo's three other tortoises. Photo: Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo Gardens has a new giant tortoise, just in time for Christmas.

Mike is a 20-year-old Aldabra giant tortoise and joins the Zoo’s other tortoises Helen, Twiggy and Biggie, who is more than 80 years old.

He weighs 83kg (13 stones).

He’s a great character and he immediately settled in with the rest of the group.”

– Tim Skelton, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians, Bristol Zoo

Aldabra tortoises can live more than 100 years and weigh more than 250kg (39 stones).

Today, they are classified as vulnerable.

Aldabra tortoises can live more than 100 years and weigh more than 250kg. Credit: Bristol Zoo

There name is from Aldabran Atoll, a place off the coast of the Seychelles.

Giant tortoises are so big they cannot withdraw their heads and legs completely into their shells.

On the islands where they evolved, in the western Indian Ocean, they did not need to, as their shells are for protection, but there weren't any predators.

Giant tortoises are so big they cannot withdraw their heads and legs completely into their shells. Credit: Bristol Zoo

Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity funded by public donations that cover both the Zoo and their conservation and research projects spread across five different continents.