Two female Galapagos tortoises, named Bella and Darwin, are now on exhibit at the recently remodeled Critter Encounters.
“This is the first time we have exhibited Galapagos tortoises at Nashville Zoo, and we couldn't be more excited to introduce guests to one of the oldest living animals in the world,” said Rick Schwartz, Nashville Zoo president. “Galapagos tortoises can live up to 150 years, so Zoo visitors will get to enjoy these two for many generations to come.”
Bella and Darwin are 20 years old and weigh 280 and 200 pounds, respectively. Once full grown, the female tortoises will be around 350 pounds. The Galapagos tortoise is native to the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean, about 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador. They are known for playing a significant role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Only 11 subspecies of the Galapagos tortoise remain and all are considered endangered.
In addition to the tortoises, Critter Encounter also includes goats, alpaca, Dromedary camels and a variety of birds. The area recently underwent an extensive renovation with expanded holding areas, huts with antique roofs, new fencing, woodchips and landscaping.