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Join date : 1970-01-01

PostSubject: Galapagos giant tortoise   Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:12 am

Once thought Lonesome George was the last and they had then become extinct Galapagos giant tortoise has baby at 70

Becoming a mother at 70-years-old doesn't present a problem - for a Galapagos giant tortoise. Nigrita produced her baby a few weeks ago at Zurich Zoo in Switzerland which has been her home since 1946.

Mother weighs in at round about the 500lbs mark while junior is only a few ounces but eventually - aged about 40 - he will reach her size.

Giant tortoises can grow to be five-feet long, live to be 150 years old and are not ready to breed until they are about 25.

They are the largest tortoises in the world and the longest living of all vertebrates. Because of their longevity it is possible that some of the oldest tortoises on the Galapagos were alive when Charles Darwin visited in 1835.

They can breed all the year round and in the wild a female would produce between two and 16 eggs which would be buried about 12-inches deep in the sand. Hatchlings emerge after about 18-19 weeks.

In the 19th century the cumbersome giant tortoises were easy prey for visiting sailors who valued them for their meat. Because they could live for months with hardly any food or water they were cruelly stacked on their backs in the ship's hold until they were ready for the pot.

Originally there were 15 subspecies on the islands but four became extinct because of over-hunting and the introduction of domestic animals which trampled or ate the tortoise's eggs. Originally there were about 250,000 tortoises but today only 15,000 survive.

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PostSubject: Re: Galapagos giant tortoise   Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:34 pm

I just love this article Thankyou for posting Helen x

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