You may recognise the handsome tortoise in this video as Hugo the giant Galapagos tortoise! He’s a visitor favourite to those who come to the Australian Reptile Park and many have gone on his daily enrichment walk with him! One question keepers are often asked is “what is that foam on his eyes?” – the answer is, it’s his sweat! Tortoises do not have the ability to sweat like humans do as their skin in not porous. So it excretes from the tear ducts and as tears are a salty substance, the sweat becomes a foamy substance – pretty cool stuff!!
Galapagos tortoises may reach a maximum shell length of over a metre and weigh up to 180 kg in weight!! Hugo here is around 165kgs and is about to celebrate his 66th birthday, but that only makes him a young adult in the Galapagos tortoise world – they can live up to 200 years of age!! The life span of the Galapagos tortoise is exceptionally long compared to other animals. Australia’s oldest Galapagos tortoise, Harriet, passed away at Australia Zoo in 2006 at 175 years of age!
Galapagos tortoises will eat almost any green vegetation they can find. Most of their diet consists of fibrous vegetation such as grass, tree bark and cacti. At The Australian Reptile Park, Hugo eats carrots, bamboo stalks, hibiscus leaves & flowers, lucerne hay and other foods that are high in fibre!