Tortoises Outside for the Season at Dickerson Park Zoo

By KOLR10 News

Published 06/11 2014 12:26PM

Updated 06/11 2014 12:36PM

Melinda Arnold with Dickerson Park Zoo is live with us this morning to talk about some of the most popular animals at the zoo.  We're at the tortoise exhibit today.       

Q:  How large are the tortoises?
A:  These are Aldabra tortoises. The males weigh between 500 and 550 pounds. The females weigh about half that.

Q: How do you distinguish between the males and females?
A:  In the yard, the two largest tortoises are the males, and the two smaller tortoises are the females. Despite their size difference, they are all adults.

Q:  How old are the tortoises?
A:  Three arrived at the zoo in 1979. One came about 14 months later in late 1980. Based on their size, they were adults at that time. We estimate their ages to be between 60 and 70 years.

Q:  Can you see the tortoises all year long?
A:   Yes. a couple of years ago, we opened a new building for the Aldabra tortoises adjacent to the yard. They spend the winter indoors, and there are large viewing windows into the rooms. In the summer, they are in the yard. However, they have access to the building for shelter from extreme summer heat.

Bring your Dad out to the Zoo for Father's Day!  Free admission for fathers this Sunday.  Gates are open 9-5.  Regular admission is $10 for people 12 and over.  Ages 3-12 is $7.

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