80-Year-Old Giant Becomes A Mother For The First Time After Laying 9 Eggs

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Like many people, you probably really appreciate animals and you may even have a pet or two at your home. Sometimes, it is good to look at the natural world around us and at some of the animals that may be struggling to get by. That is the case with the giant tortoise, and although they are in danger, there are some that are living quite nicely at the Zürich zoo in Switzerland.

Included among that number is an 80-year-old female tortoise named Nigrita. She managed to amaze all of the workers at the zoo as well as the rest of us who are looking on via the Internet by hatching nine eggs. It is remarkable that an 80-year-old animal would become a mother for the very first time but for a tortoise, it’s rather common.

Giant tortoises are thought to be the longest living vertebrates on the planet Earth and can live to be well over 100 years of age. The oldest known tortoise was 152 years old.

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National Geographic says that tortoises live a long life because of their slow metabolism and they are able to store a lot of water internally. They may be able to go for up to a year without food or water and they nap 16 hours a day. The rest of the time they spend sunbathing and enjoying a diet of grass, leaves and other leafy greens.

The unfortunate reality is that they are on the endangered species list. Pirates, whalers and merchantman during the 17th through the 19 centuries hunted them for food and up to 100,000 were killed for meat. Feral animals also pose a threat to their food supply and eggs.

Nigrita has a 54-year-old mate, Jumbo. They, along with their nine babies, are safe and sound at the Zürich zoo and are part of a breeding program designed to protect the species from going extinct. Believe it or not, the hatchlings have the chance of living well beyond the year 2216!

Baby tortoises weigh between 4 and 5 ounces but when they are fully grown, they may weigh up to 700 pounds.

Let’s hope they live a long, happy and healthy life.

H/T: Shareably

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