A forklift truck, four men and a bag of carrots: What it takes to tempt 166kg Hugo, Australia’s largest tortoise, on to the scales
- Four men were needed to move a 166-kilo Galapagos tortoise
- The animal was being transported for its annual weigh in
- It lives at the Australian Reptile Park on the NSW’s Central Coast
- The animal put one kilo since last year and was found to be in good health
It took four burly men to move a giant 166-kilogram Galapagos tortoise onto a truck so it could be moved for its annual weigh in today – possibly the biggest of the species in Australia.
The 63-year-old named Hugo lives at the Australian Reptile Park on NSW’s Central Coast and was taken to a nearby vet with industrial scales.
Australian Reptile Park general manager Tim Faulkner said it was not an easy task moving such a massive animal, which could be the largest in Australia.
‘I think it’s likely he one of the biggest and quite possibly he would be up there with the heaviest, if not the heaviest,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Four big men moving 166 kilograms – each man taking a 40 kilogram portion or more is quite a bit to carry,’ he said.
Once at the vet, a forklift was used to get the gigantic animal off the truck and carrots were used to coax the huge animal on to the scales by the four reptile keepers.
Tipping the scales at 166 kilograms, the tortoise’s weight increased by one-kilogram on last year’s weigh in and Mr Faulkner said this was a sign of good health.
‘He’s considered a teenager turning into a man. He’s in the prime of this life, they can live up to 150 to 200 years,’ he said.
‘The fact that he’s put on a kilo, it’s nice but we’re not trying to get him to put it on – the weigh in is a condition of health. It’s about maintenance to make sure he’s retaining and keeping the weight.’
Mr Faulkner said it was a slow process for the animals to put on weight because they do not eat a lot and any significant weight loss could indicate ill health.
‘This is a great result for Hugo and means that he’s really healthy,’ he said. ‘Hugo’s habits haven’t changed, which usually indicate abnormalities. He’s a happy, healthy and very outgoing tortoise.’
The Galapagos tortoise is from the Galapagos Islands, located about 900km west of Ecuador off the South American coast.
Each Galapagos island has its own unique sub-species, although some have been destroyed due to feral species being introduced which destroy native vegetation and humans giving native animals food.
The Galapagos tortoise, which is the largest of its species, is classified as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.
They can reach nearly two metres in length and weigh up to 400 kilograms.
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