The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Giant Tortoise, Nigrita, Gives Birth to 9 Hatchlings at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland

Monday, October 23, 2017

Giant Tortoise, Nigrita, Gives Birth to 9 Hatchlings at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland

At the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland resides an 80-year-old tortoise named Nigrita who had 9 little hatchlings over 8 months ago. Some would say that’s quite old to have a baby, but for tortoises, it’s just the opposite!

Giant tortoises are said to be one of the longest-living vertebrates on earth, with a life expectancy of over 100 years. The oldest tortoise was recorded to be 152-years-old. Now that’s impressive!

According to National Geographic, tortoises live a long life because they have a slow metabolism and large internal stores of water, allowing them to live up to a year without food or water. Tortoises nap for up to 16 hours a day, sunbathe at their leisure and enjoy a diet of grasses, leaves, and other leafy greens.

Unfortunately, these amazing creatures are on the list of endangered species. They were hunted as food by pirates, whalers, and merchantmen during the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries where up to 100,000 tortoises were killed for their meat. Plus, feral animals are a threat to their food supply as well as their eggs.

Nigrita, her 54-year-old mate Jumbo, and the 9 babies are kept safe at the Zurich Zoo, where they are part of a breeding program that is designed to protect the species from extinction. These remarkable creatures even have a chance of living until the year 2216. That’s longer than any of us mortals can say! It’s quite a miraculous feat to live an extensive, slow, and relaxing life.

When born, tortoises weigh between 4 and 5 ounces, and when they are fully grown, both male and female tortoises can weigh up to 400 and 700 pounds.


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