Tortoises can live to a ripe old age, and, apparently, they can mate to a ripe old age as well. A couple of super old tortoises at the Knoxville Zoo, Al (130 years old) and Tex (90 years old), have been living without ladies for decades. They are male Aldabra tortoises, tortoises which are classified as threatened. Now, however, some female tortoises from an Atlanta zoo have come to visit and Al and Tex have given them a warm welcome.
Al, 550 pounds, seems to have finally gotten over his “wife”, who died in 1983 and was the last tortoise Al mated with. Al “moved much faster than stereotypical tortoise pace to mate with Patches,” one of the female tortoises, KnoxNews writes. “Tex, who crawls slowly because of an arthritic-like leg condition, later showed at least passing interest in Corky and Patches.”
Al has great tortoise genes and Knoxville Zoo Assistant Curator of Herpetology Michael Ogle didn’t want those to go to waste, a major reason why the meeting with the females was arranged. “There’s just nothing wrong with him,” Ogle says.
Aldabra tortoises are some of the largest tortoises in the world. The lady tortoises that came to visit Tex and Al weigh in at approximately 200 and 250 pounds. The average female weighs 350 pounds and the average male 550 pounds. One male Aldabra tortoise is known to weigh 794.2 pounds! So, Al, Tex, and their lady friends are actually quite “fit”.
Aldabra tortoises are only native to the Seychelles Aldabra Atoll, about 300 miles Northwest of Madagascar, and they are some of the longest-living non-plant species on the planet. One Aldabra tortoise is reported to have lived 255 years, for example! The Aldabra Atoll is home to about 152,000 giant tortoises.
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