Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Time for tortoises!

Tortoises are among my favorite topics to blog about, because of their unusual looks (see Turtles in the weird news), physical limitations (see Crittercams), occasional strange behavior (see Tortoise cold, tortoise hot), and the great ages they can attain (see Ancient animals). All of these traits are exhibited by the 17-member herd of Galapagos tortoises that has resided at the San Diego Zoo since 1928. The keepers of this colony -one of the largest in the world - recently treated them to pumpkins (pictured, more photos here), which they eat in their entirety, seeds and all, just like elephants. Senior zookeeper Jenna Ramsey explains that each of the 400- to 600lb tortoises receives his or her own pumpkin: "It's their post-Thanksgiving meal and it's great enrichment for them. They love pumpkins and orange is their favorite color." So apparently, they are all attracted to the bright pumpkins, but in other ways each has a distinct personality:
  • Abbot (#25, as identified by the number painted on his shell) is known for his stubborn streak, sometimes refusing to move even for a carrot or other leafy vegetable
  • Madeline (#5) also has a mind of her own, but generally falls in line when she sees the other girls cooperating
  • Chips (#9) is playful
  • Emerson (#30) is sometimes aggressive
  • Winston (#2B) can be contrary, for instance blocking the door to the tortoise "bedroom" until he gets fed
  • Gramma (#4), thought to be between 120 and 130 years old, is the most accommodating of the females
  • Augustus (#7) is considered to be the lustiest male
Pairings between the tortoises - now in their recently renovated enclosure - have resulted in dozens of hatchlings. I wonder if these "Galapagos minis" communicate in the shell, as a species of turtle has been found to do. And I wonder how young they are when those personalities form...

1 comment:

  1. Nice post my friend .Thanks for specially you Get a nice pic's...Thanks again ...


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