Upon arriving on Cousin, visitors are often greeted by the ancients of the island, the Giant Aldabra tortoise that hang around by the beach and inland in the forest. In the freshwater area of the forest, the shy terrapin might come to take a peek at passersby. And the very lucky visitor will encounter hawkbsill turtles nesting on the beach during the turtle season.
Aldabra Giant Tortoise
Aldabra Giant tortoise / Torti-d-ter /Geochelone gigantea
Several Giant tortoises can be found roaming about the plateau, feeding on leaves and fallen fruits. These large herbivores belong to the Aldabra species, which were introduced to the granitic islands after overexploitation led to the extinction of the resident species.
Hawksbill turtle / Kare / Eretmochelys imbricata
During turtle season, the females can be seen nesting in broad daylight, laying their eggs in holes dug in the sand under the beach vegetation from October to January, with the young emerging approximately eight weeks later. Once exploited for their beautiful shell, these graceful creatures are now protected in Seychelles.
Freshwater terrapin (MUD TURTLE)
Freshwater terrapin / Torti soupap
There are two types of terrapins (or mud turtles) on Cousin – Black mud turtle and Yellow bellied mud turtle. These elusive turtles live in the swamp at the base of the hill, feeding on plants, water insects and other prey. They are shy and only seen occasionally when heavy rains fill the marsh and wash them out onto the path.
> See the IUCN Species Fact Sheet: Black mud turtle and Yellow bellied mud turtle
Green Turtle / Torti-d-mer / Chelonia mydas
Olive brown in colour this turtle derives its name from the colour of its fat. Each year a few nest on the granitics island including Cousin, the main site of breeding is on Aldabra and southern islands. Nesting is nocturnal and occurs year round with two peaks January-April and July September.