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Tortoises want pets too | Zoo Knoxville announces new Tortoise Trail exhibit

Guests who walk the Tortoise Trail will be able to pet, scratch and feed Madagascar Radiated and Aldabra Tortoises.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — There's a lot to see and do at Zoo Knoxville, where monkeys can swing over visitors' heads and tigers may bellow fierce roars. It's also a place where guests can scratch a tortoise's back.

The zoo announced a new Tortoise Trail experience on Friday, giving guests a chance to get a hands-on experience with some endangered species. While walking the trail, visitors will be able to pet, scratch and feed Madagascar Radiated Tortoises and Aldabra Tortoises.

The trail is offered on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. and costs $5 per person. It is located in the East Zoo above Kids Cove, and guests will be guided by workers with Zoo Knoxville.

The Madagascar Radiated Tortoises only live in the spiny forest towards the southern end of the island. They were once abundant in the region, but populations have plummeted. They are now considered critically endangered, and Zoo Knoxville has worked to save them.

Aldabra Tortoises are some of the world's largest land tortoises and can reach up to 550 pounds and live up to 150 years old.