80-Year-Old Galapagos Tortoise Could Be The World’s Oldest Mom

The Zurich Zoo’s Nigrita and her 54-year-old mate are the proud parents of nine baby tortoises.

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Nigrita with one of her nine hatchlings. She became a mother again at 80 years of age. Via Zurich Zoo/Facebook
Nigrita with one of her nine hatchlings. She became a mother again at 80 years of age. Via Zurich Zoo/Facebook
John Virata

Imagine being a mother at 80. For humans that would seem all but impossible, but for Galapagos tortoises? Eighty years old could be considered the prime age for laying eggs.

At least it is for Nigrita, a Galapagos tortoise in Switzerland who just became a mom again after nine eggs that she laid last fall successfully hatched out, NBCNews.com reports.

“Nigrita is our oldest animal at the zoo, but she is probably in her best years to lay eggs,” Robert Zingg, senior curator at the Zurich Zoo, told the news outlet.

One of Nigrita and Jumbo’s hatchlings, it should grow to more than 200 pounds. Via Zurich Zoo/Facebook

One of Nigrita and Jumbo’s hatchlings. It should grow to more than 200 pounds. Via Zurich Zoo/Facebook

The 220-pound tortoise arrived at the zoo in 1946. She laid her first eggs in 1980 but none survived. She has over the years laid quite a few eggs, of which the tortoises that successfully hatched have been sent to other zoos, according to NBCNews.com. Her latest batch was sired by Jumbo, a 54-year-old tortoise who weighs in at a whopping 440 pounds.

Jumbo eating some food with some of his offspring. Via Samuel Furrer/Zurich Zoo

Jumbo eating some food with some of his offspring. Via Samuel Furrer/Zurich Zoo

Husbandry practices of Galapagos tortoise eggs have most likely improved over the last several decades. Nigrita’s eggs were dug up and placed into an incubator where they hatched out some two months after they were dug up, according to NBCNews.com

Could Nigrita be the world’s oldest mom? She well could be considering that Galapagos tortoise’s can easily reach 150 years of age.

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