Saturday, June 24, 2006

Harriet the Tortoise dies at 176 years old

One of the oldest animals in the world has died at the Australia Zoo, at the old age of 176, from heart failure. Harriet the Tortoise was born in 1830, and was originally brought to Britain from the Galapagos Islands when she was 5 years old. She stayed there until she moved to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens in the mid-1800's. She was later bought by the Australia Zoo in 1987.

Update: (9/4/06)
A couple of months after Harriet's death, her "daddy" and owner of the Australia Zoo, Steve Irwin died from a stingray wound to the chest on a diving documentary expedition. The naturalist field will not be the same without his trademark "Crikey!" as he brought the wild up close and personal. He leaves behind his wife, a daughter (8) and a son (2).


Blogger RC said...

how crazy...did you know that this tortoise was brought back by charles darwin...

it's original name was harry until the 1960s (i think) when they found out it was a girl.

i didn't hear that it died...i remembered last year when harriet celebrated it 175th birthday and i thought "wow, that's so cool."

--RC of

11:46 PM  
Blogger The Turtle's Back said...

Yes, I only wish I'd managed to get up to Queensland to see her before she died! Ergo it would have been like touching Charles Darwin!

6:43 AM  
Blogger jeff.w.mcclung said...

The oldest animal in the world?

I thought that was Keith Richards.

9:11 AM  
Blogger queen_spoo said...

LOL...Keith Richards. :)

Yes, I had heard that Harriet was picked up by Darwin and brought to Britain, but this article somehow doubts that premise:

Harriet was long reputed to have been one of three tortoises taken from the Galapagos Islands by Charles Darwin on his historic 1835 voyage aboard the HMS Beagle.

However, historical records, while suggestive, don’t prove the claim. And some scientists have cast doubt on the story, with DNA tests confirming Harriet’s age but showing she came from an island that Darwin never visited.

According to local legend, Harriet was just five years old and probably no bigger than a dinner plate when she was taken from the Galapagos to Britain.

Regardless of whether she was personally picked up by Darwin or not, the girl has DEFINITELY been around the block.... Hard to imagine being through so many eras in a lifetime, though as a tortoise, she probably didn't notice. :)

8:05 PM  

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