Going Wild: Tortoises at the Honolulu Zoo

Published On: Apr 04 2014 07:50:17 PM HST   Updated On: Apr 04 2014 08:17:40 PM HST

Alright it's time to throw away what you think you know about tortoises and listen up.

They often get a bad wrap, labeled as slow and boring, but in reality there is a whole lot going on under those shells.

Click here for Ashley Moser's report.

0.13 miles per hour, that is the speed of these reptiles racing at top speed.

Galapagos tortoises are not only known for their slow stride but also for their age. Keepers say they can get up to 150 years old. Two tortoises at the Honolulu Zoo have already reached the century mark.
"They are 100 years old. Once again, they came to us in 1929 at the age of 15 to 20 and they have been with us ever since," said Glenn Doi, a tortoise animal keeper.

Tortoises are land reptiles that cannot swim, but that does not keep them guys from exploring their surroundings.

"They have seen a lot. They've been around for a while. Some of the oldest living animals you'll ever see, almost like a dinosaur," said Doi.

Their shells keep growing with every year they age and it is the shape that gets keepers attention. Irregular bumps can mean a deficiency in their diets.

"It's called pyramiding," said Doi.

A balanced diet of leafy greens and fruits once a day keep them healthy and spry, and even adds a certain spring in their step.

Now keepers say it is true that tortoises are slow, but of course not when it is feeding time.

"Until we put down the food and then it's called get out of the way," Doi says before laughing.

Maybe that is why the tortoise beat the hare.

It is a myth that the shapes of their shells depend on what they need to eat to stay alive. Some tortoise shells are shaped in a way that makes it easier for them to reach higher and eat from taller plants.

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