70-Year-Old Tortoise Hasn't Lost His Mojo

Photo: London Zoo

Sure, tortoises aren't the sexiest species on Earth--after all, cold, wrinkly skin isn't usually desirable, and shells really aren't that revealing. But, that isn't slowing one amorous old fellow from following his insatiable sexual appetite. Dirk, a giant Galapagos Tortoise, is proving to researchers that the spark of intimacy doesn't have to wane in the Golden years. At 70 years old, he's still going strong with his two young companions, raising hopes that the highly endangered species could be due for some offspring.According to the BBC, Dirk, who was taken from the Galapagos islands in 1961, recently spent over a year away from his two female companions at the London Zoo--and now it appears he's been making up for the lost time. Despite the considerable age difference, Dolores and Dolly, both teenage female tortoises, don't seem to mind Dirk's newfound insatiable sexual appetite.

Dirk, at nearly 450 pounds, weighs over twice as much as the females he's been courting.

Ian Stephen, from the London Zoo, has noticed that Dirk may be sweeter on one female:

I think Dirk has a crush on Dolly in particular. They came together here and have been inseparable ever since.

That is not to say that Dirk is an inconsiderate lover, however. Perhaps unlike more brash, heavy-handed youngsters, Dirk's 70 years has taught him to be respectful of the ladies. According to the Zoo, Dirk "allows Dolly finish her meals or leave the bath before being seduced."

Researchers are hopeful that all this mating will produce offspring to help replenish a unique species that is on the brink of extinction due to hunting and tourism on the tortoise's native Galapagos. In fact, of the 14 large tortoises native to the tiny Pacific islands, 3 have already been lost forever.

The fact that Dirk's sexual appetite was jump-started upon returning after his lonely year away from his gals, seems strangely, well, understandable. It would be interesting to see if the same would apply for other endangered species that could use a little spark of libido. Then again, there's the possibility that Dirk is a special case--you know, he could be the Jack Nicholson of the tortoise world.

More on Galapagos Tortoises
First Mating in 36 Years For Island's Last Giant Tortoise
Ecuador Announces Measures to Protect Galapagos Islands
Which Has More Species, the Galapagos Islands or Antarctica?

Tags: Animals | Biology | Endangered Species | Turtles

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