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Ancient Tortoise Passes Away


The world is mourning the death of a tortoise. You can’t say Methuselah didn’t live a long and happy life. The Galapagos Tortoise was 130-years old. If he had been getting social tortoise security, it means he would have been receiving payments for 65 years. Payments for a tortoise might be raw carrots or watermelon.

Reptile Gardens in Rapid City, SD estimates that tens of thousands of visitors have met the giant tortoise since it arrived at the park in 1954 from the Galapagos Islands. Imagine, grandma telling you as a young girl, she had her picture taken with Methuselah, who certainly lived up to his name. He outlived four human generations.

“I’ve known Methuselah since I was around 3 years old, so losing him is like losing an old, good friend,” said John Brockelsby, director of public relations at Reptile Gardens. He told the Rapid City Journal; “I had a lot of daily contact with him so having to say goodbye was very sad.”

Brockelsby said about 10 days prior to Methuselah’s death they began to notice that the 500-lb. tortoise was moving slower than usual and was quite lethargic, even by tortoise standards.

The is a concerted effort to save the endangered Galapagos Islands Tortoise, as well as the closely related Aldabra Island Tortoise. Actually, the most significant threat are feral cats introduced to the islands who eat the eggs.

Reptile Gardens still has two other giant tortoises – Quazi and Tank – that are only 50 to 60 years old, spring chickens by Galapagos Island Tortoise standards. There are no plans to replace Methuselah.


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