Saturday, December 13, 2008

Camera Critters

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This is Leopold. Hagenbeck's oldest giant tortoise (Geochelone gigantea). He's about 100 years old and he loves to get his head and neck scratched, like most giant tortoises. He stands up real straight and makes his neck as long as possible. It's probably an instinctive reaction because giant tortoises let themselves be cleaned from parasites ect. by birds in the wild, but he definitely enjoys it.

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sunbathing
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How do you find mating tortoises in the wild? You follow the loud noise. Tortoises are really, um, vocal when they mate because it's such hard work for the male (especially when the female keeping running away, as this one did, so no little Leopolds).

More animals over at the Camera Critters meme

20 comments:

Your EG Tour Guide said...

Great photos! I've never seen a tortoise in the wild.

A Blog In The Rough said...

wow he's so neat! Love your mating info, very funny even though I'm sure it wasn't meant to be :)

Jedediah said...

I really did have a hard time not laughing to loud when I watched them, I heard them about 10 minutes before I actually reached the enclosure and Leopold already looked pretty frustrated and out of breath *g*

Rhea said...

Those photos are AWESOME. I just love giant tortoises. And, that's hilarious about their mating noises. I had no idea they were so vocal. lol

Grammy said...

They are so amazing. I love the close up.

Indrani said...

Great series of shots!
I have not seen so many of them together.

Reader Wil said...

Well that's a very interesting post! Beautiful photos too! Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend.

Daisy Cat said...

I love these - great set of photos.

fishing guy said...

Jedediah: What a neat close-up of the tortoise.

Dina said...

You captured Leopold's "personality" with these photos. Makes me want to scratch his leathery old head.
Great story.

Ladynred said...

That's beautiful close up of the tortoise!

kayleen said...

Neat series of photos. Didn't know they liked their heads and necks scratched. Thanks for sharing.

david mcmahon said...

That first shot is tremendous.

And the last was a shell shock!! Well done!

babooshka said...

New to me one in the wild. These are excellent close ups.

Misty Dawn said...

Oh my gosh - this is SO AWESOME!!! These are some truly fantastic photos! I love this post... and now I want to go see a giant tortoise! hehe

Ramblings of a Villas Girl said...

Wow! Great pics. I think I would be running away too. He is hugh compared to her.

Gretchen said...

Awesome close ups and now I've have my fill of turtle porn for the day. :)

i beati said...

now that's a real head shot Sandy

Lilli & Nevada said...

what great photos you captured there, i have never seen one let alone one that old, Never thought about how they breed either Good post

Julie said...

Very cool.