Change takes a toll even on an atoll. The Aldabra giant tortoise has been lucky in locale-a raised coral atoll whose extreme isolation helped a handful of tortoises escape the mass harvesting that persisted to the end of the 19th century. There, life went on, with females laying several new clutches-each holding up to 25 eggs-per year. But the young, who face the world immediately after hatching without the benefit of parental care, still find survival a challenge. Competition with introduced species, climatic fluctuations and a limited habitat show that life can be tough even in the best of locations.
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Primary habitat is a low-lying coral atoll whose flat, rocky, terrain includes mixed scrub and shrubs
Head and body length, 90-120 cm
Estimated at 100,000-150,000