20/06/2024

80-Year-Old Galapagos Tortoise Becomes A First Time Mom

80-Year-Old Galapagos Tortoise Becomes A First Time Mom

 Age is relative in the animal kingdom. We all know about dog years and cat years, and it’s fun calculating how old our furry friends would be if they were humans. But what about other animals, and specifically ones that live significantly longer than humans? Galapagos tortoises are believed to be able to live up to 200 years old, and as you can imagine, that has some interesting consequences. I read recently that a turtle at Zoo Zurich had babies at the age of 80. Now, that’s a long time to wait to start a family! So what’s life like for a new mom at 80? And how cute are her tiny babies? See pictures and read about Galapagos tortoise Nigrita and her newborns below!

As the saying goes, “it is never too late.”  That is certainly true in the case of this tortoise that gave birth for the first time at the tender age of 80. Although her age seems quite impressive in human terms, it is normal for her the Galapagos tortoise to give birth at that age. In fact, these tortoises typically don’t start reproducing until around age 40. Galapagos tortoises are known as one of the longest-living animals on Earth. By tortoise standards, Nigrita is in her prime. Nigrita laid her first eggs just last year. Most species don’t live to be 80 years old, let alone give birth at that age, but for her species, it’s quite normal!

Sᴀᴅʟʏ the species is ᴇɴᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴇᴅ due to over ʜᴜɴᴛɪɴɢ of their meat and oil.  Over exploitation of their natural habitat, and the introduction of non native species of animals, have also contributed to their decline. Nigrita is part of a breeding program at the Zurich Zoo, which will work hard to ensure her 9 babies grow up healthy and strong so they can take part in future breeding programs. We wish Nigrita and her nine babies the best of luck and hope that in 40 to 80 years, these new hatchlings will be having babies of their own! Please share this amazing story with your family and friends.

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