Geochelone (Chelonoidis) nigra
- Family: Testudinidae
- Adult Size: More than 500 lbs
- Range: Galapagos Islands, Equator.
- Habitat: Larger species inhabit rocky hillsides in the higher elevations with more lush vegetation. The smaller species inhabit the lower elevation drier grasslands.
- Captive Lifespan: More than 20 Years
- Care Level: Advanced
The Galapagos tortoise actually consists of several species or forms. Each species originates from one of the specific islands which make up the Galapagos archipelago. Because of its very limited range the Galapagos tortoise is listed as an endangered species. Because of this status a special permit issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for the keeping of endangered species is required to keep and maintain these tortoises in captivity in the US. There is an exception to this law where a Galapagos tortoise can be obtained in the state in which it will be kept. In that case a permit is not required.
The Galapagos tortoise normally likes it warm so a temperature range of 80 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit should be provided. The Galapagos tortoise does not seem to be as cold tolerant as the Aldabra tortoise.
Galapagos tortoises are opportunistic feeders consuming a wide range of foods including grasses, broad leafy greens, vegetables, brows and carrion when available. Cabbages should be fed on a very limited basis because of know issues with thyroid problems which are suspected due to iodine deficiencies caused by feeding too much of the cabbages.
Water should be provided at all times. Galapagos tortoises also seem to like to wallow in a good mud hole so one should be provided if the space allows it.