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

It is never too late-as the saying goes. That was certainly true in the case of this tortoise who gave birth for the first time at age 80!

The endangered tortoise, Nigrita, lives at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland. This old gal has made a big impact not just for her species but also for other generations to come with her 9 adorable hatchlings who will go on to ensure their survival and that of others too.

Although her age seems quite impressive in human terms, Galapagos tortoises don’t start reproducing until around 40 years of age. They can give birth at any time during this period!

The Galapagos tortoises are one of the longest living animals on earth, and Nigrita at 80 years old is in her prime. Out of all the species, they have been determined to be among those with the longest life span – “exist on only two remote archipelagos: the Galápagos Islands 1000 km due west of mainland Ecuador; and Aldabrachelys gigantea of Aldabra in the Indian Ocean, 700 km east of Tanzania.”

Sadly, this species is endangered because of over-hunting for their meat and oil. Over exploitation of their natural habitat has also contributed to the decline in population numbers. The introduction of non native animals into the environment has caused an increase in diseases, which have lead to a further decrease of these reptiles’ population numbers.

Nigrita is part of a breeding program at the Zurich Zoo. The zoo will work hard to ensure her 9 babies grow up healthy and strong so they can take part in future breeding programs.

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