80-Year-Old Galapagos Tortoise Has 9 Babies at Swiss Zoo

May 20, 2016 Updated: May 20, 2016

An 80-year-old Galapagos tortoise recently gave birth to nine babies at the Zurich Zoo in Switzerland.

She laid her first eggs last fall, and they were kept in an incubator. Galapagos tortoises don’t usually give birth until they’re about 40 years old.

(Samuel Furrer / Zoo Zurich)
(Samuel Furrer / Zoo Zurich)

“Nigrita is our oldest animal at the zoo, but she is probably in her best years to lay eggs,” Robert Zingg, the zoo’s curator, told NBC News last week.

The 220-pound tortoise has been in the zoo since 1946.

The father of the children is a tortoise named Jumbo, who is 440 pounds.

Nigrita started laying eggs back in 1980 but she didn’t produce any living offspring until 1989. Now, she has 91 “children.”

Galapagos tortoises can live up to 150 years, and the Zurich Zoo is the only place in Europe that breeds them.

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