His name is Shuffles and he likes neck scratches. He is a trim 350 pounds and would love to meet you for lunch at his place. He enjoys munching on crunchy carrots, but mangoes are his favorite.
Shuffles is one of Zoo Atlanta’s three Aldabra tortoises, and the only male. We met him (and you can too) during one of Zoo Atlanta’s Wild Encounters.
The Aldabra Encounter is the only event where you are in the habitat with the animal. Shuffles well, shuffled to greet us pulling himself from his cool mud pit at the promise of a mango treat.
He tolerated our petting, on his shell (they can feel your touch even on the shell), and his thick dinosaur like legs. His favorite though was the neck scratches. Just like a child, if you stop, he’ll come closer looking for more.
Like the other Wild Encounters, we also fed Shuffles. He was pretty adept at pulling the entire carrot sticks out of the bamboo holders rather than just breaking off pieces. Clearly this wasn’t his first rodeo. However, he did seem to be eyeing my orange pants, considering whether they were the ultimate carrot sticks.
The Aldabra tortoise is the second largest in the world. (the first is the Galapagos). They live off the coast of African on a series of islands that are only accessible by the park service. These are just a few of the facts we came away with after approximately 35 minute encounter.
The Five Wild Encounters at Zoo Atlanta
The Aldabra tortoise encounter is one of five at Zoo Atlanta. Others include:
- Panda Encounter
- Elephant Encounter
- Lion Encounter
- Lemur Encounter
Know Before You Go
A few things to note about Zoo Atlanta’s Wild Encounters:
- The Aldabra tortoise encounter is the only one where you go into the habitat. The other encounters will give you a behind the scenes look, but you are not in the cage with the lions (or panda, elephant or lemur).
- Each Encounter includes feeding the animals.
- There are age restrictions and other rules, so see read about the Wild Encounter before booking.
- All Wild Encounters must be booked ahead of time.
- The fee for Wild Encounters is in addition to Zoo Atlanta Admission.
More Zoo Experiences
If you like behind the scenes Zoo tours, check out these posts on 365 Atlanta Traveler.
- What it’s Like to Swim with the Whale Sharks at the Georgia Aquarium
- Shake Hands with Otters and Other Intimate Encounters at the Georgia Aquarium
- A VIP African Safari at Disney’s Wild Africa Trek
- Sea World Behind the Scenes Tours (penguins/manatee and more!)
- 5 Things To Know about Zoo Atlanta’s TreeTop Trail
- 5 Reasons to Visit and Save at the North Georgia Zoo
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