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San Diego Zoo’s Galapagos Tortoise, Speed, Dies At 150+Years

One of the oldest Galapagos tortoises  (Chelonoidis nigra) in captivity has died. Speed, who was brought to the San Diego Zoo in 1933 was es

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One of the oldest Galapagos tortoises  (Chelonoidis nigra) in captivity has died. Speed, who was brought to the San Diego Zoo in 1933 was estimated to be between 150 and 160 years old. According to a report in the San Diego Tribune, Speed had been suffering from a variety of ailments, including arthritis. The zoo tried to keep him alive with methods such as hydrotherapy, acupuncture, a variety of medicines and physically therapy but decided to euthanize him June 19 after these efforts were largely unsuccessful. 

“He had some severe arthritis, and it just came down to a quality of life question,” Jonny Carlson, primary caregiver for the Galapagos tortoises at the zoo told the Tribune. “We’ve been wrestling with that for a couple months now. (Euthanization) was what we decided on because there was no fixing the problem. It was a matter of easing his pain.”


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Speed was a resident stud in the time he lived at the zoo, having sired 90 other tortoises over the more than 80 years he lived at the zoo, and was also one of the most popular Galapagos tortoises in the zoo’s habitat.  The zoo is home to 13 Galapagos tortoises that comprise four breeding groups


John B. Virata keeps a western hognose snake, a ball python, two corn snakes, a kingsnake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. His first pet reptile was a green anole that arrived in a small box via mail order. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata