On view you’ll see two adult and two sub-adult Radiated tortoises. These animals spend the warmer months in Tortoise Territory and are taken to live in a tropical greenhouse when the temperatures begin to drop into the 50s. Our male came to the United States in 1969 as a full-grown adult estimated to be at least 25 years old at the time, but he did not successfully sire offspring until 2011 here at Zoo Knoxville. Now he has many offspring.
Zoo Knoxville is home to one of the top reptile collections in the country, which showcases our conservation work with some of the most endangered species on the planet. Our reptile habitat includes ploughshare tortoises, radiated tortoises, spider tortoises and flat-tailed tortoises. It’s also home to the zoo’s oldest and most tenured residents, Al and Tex, the giant Aldabra tortoises. And, of course, there are snakes!
Keeper chats scheduled Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Perhaps one of Zoo Knoxville’s best-known and beloved animal ambassadors is Big Al, the giant Aldabra tortoise. Weighing in at 525 pounds and estimated to be at least 150 years old, Al is one of three males and two female Aldabra tortoises that live at the zoo. Aldabra tortoises are the second-largest species of tortoise on Earth, second only to the Galapagos tortoise.
The rarest and arguably the most beautiful tortoises who live at Zoo Knoxville, our four juvenile Ploughshare tortoises are some of the only ones on public view in zoos in the continental United States. Our tortoises spend their morning enjoying the sunshine. As the day gets warmer, they demonstrate their excellent camouflage as they lounge in the shade.