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Thread: The tiny tortoise who's a fraction of the size of his 550lb mum

  1. #1
    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Dec 2006

    Default The tiny tortoise who's a fraction of the size of his 550lb mum

    At first glance, it appears to be a meeting of David and Goliath. But, unbelievably, the tiny tortoise in this picture will grow to be just as big as its watchful mother.

    Nigrita is a 70-year-old Galapagos Giant Tortoise the largest living species who has lived at Zurich Zoo since 1946, and hatched this baby a few weeks ago.
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    Little and large: This baby Galapagos Giant tortoise will grow to be as big as his Mum

    Seventy may seem rather old to be reproducing, but the Galapagos tortoise doesn't reach sexual maturity until it is 25, and can live to be more than 150 years old.
    Mating can occur at any time during the year, and the female tortoise can produce between two and 16 tennis ball-sized eggs, which she buries in a 1ft deep nest.
    They then incubate for around 130 days. Unusually, temperature can effect the gender of the hatchlings a low nest temperature means they are likely to be male, while a hot, stuffy nest is more likely to produce females.
    However, it is impossible to determine the sex of a Galapagos tortoise until it is 15 years old.
    A fully-grown tortoise such as Nigrita can weigh up to 550lb and measure more than 3ft high. In contrast, her young weighs only 2.8oz and measures just 2.4in.
    Growth will occur slowly over the next 40 years, at which point the tortoises reach full size. Their large shells add to their impressive appearance and act as a shield against predators.
    This magnificent armour is actually a bone, and a crucial part of the tortoise skeleton. However, it does slow them down, as they have an average speed of only 0.18mph.
    No one knows why the Galapagos reptiles are so large, but it's possible that a lack of predators on the South American islands meant they evolved free from danger until they were discovered by mankind in the 18th century.
    During the 18th and 19th centuries, many of the tortoises were killed for food by whalers and pirates. When they were discovered, there were around 250,000 on the islands. Today there are 15,000, and although they are protected by law, poaching continues 120 have been killed since 1990.

    Little and large: The tiny tortoise who's a fraction of the size of his 550lb mum | the Daily Mail

  2. #2
    Eli is offline
    Hit By Ban Bus! Eli's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
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    What would be funny would be if the mother was the tiny one.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Tati's Avatar
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    Awww, precious!
    If you reveal your secrets to the wind you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees.

    - Kahlil Gibran

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