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Endangered 80-Year-Old Tortoise Becomes A First-Time Mom.

Age is relative in the animal kingdom. We all know about dog years and cat years, and it’s fun calculating how old our furry friends would be if they were humans. But what about other animals, and specifically ones that live significantly longer than humans? Galapagos tortoises are believed to be able to live up to 200 years old, and as you can imagine, that has some interesting consequences. I read recently that a turtle at Zoo Zurich had babies at the age of 80. Now, that’s a long time to wait to start a family! So what’s life like for a new mom at 80? And how cute are her tiny babies? See pictures and read about Galapagos tortoise Nigrita and her newborns below!

Eighty-year-old Nigrita is a female Galapagos tortoise that lives in Switzerland’s Zoo Zurich. And she is also a new mom.

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer

 
 
Although 80 sounds a little old to raise kids, for a Galapagos tortoise, it’s perfectly normal. Because this species of tortoise lives a very long time—the oldest Galapagos tortoise on record lived to be 152!

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer

 
 
So if there’s nothing out of the ordinary about a Galapagos tortoise having babies at 80, what’s so special about Nigrita?

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer

 
 
Nigrita and her 54-year-old mate, Jumbo, are part of Zoo Zurich’s breeding program introduced to help revitalize the Galapagos tortoise population, which is currently on the endangered species’ list.

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer

 
 
And with so few Galapagos tortoises on the planet today, Nigrita is doing more than her share to help increase the population. Because the new mom had nine—count them, nine—hatchlings!

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer

 
 
Nigrita’s tiny newborns each weigh between 4 and 5 ounces, which means it’ll be some time before any of them is as big as their 200-pound mama.

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer

 
 
Still, female and male Galapagos tortoises can ultimately weigh up to 400 and 700 pounds, respectively, which means not only are Nigrita’s babies growing, their 80-year-old mom is growing, too!

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Zoo Zürich, Samuel Furrer

 
 
We wish Nigrita and her nine babies the best of luck and hope that in 40 to 80 years, these new hatchlings will be having babies of their own!

 

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