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Two giant tortoises at an Austrian zoo named, Bibi (female) and Poldi (male) have finished their relationship as a couple. The turtles started their romance -115 years- at Basel zoo in Switzerland when they were young.
The world’s oldest animal marriage was about to hit rocky water, after two turtles, living together for over 115 years refused to share their cages. Both tortoises were born around 1887 according to the Austrian zoo.
According to the Austrian Times, the turtles were getting a “divorce”, after Bibi, bit off part of the male turtle, Poldi´s shell. Other attacks from Bibi against her life-long mate were also testified by the zoo. Bibi and Poldi weigh over 200 pounds each, and with horn-rimmed mouths and powerful jaws are capable to harm each other if they wanted to.
Now both turtles are living in different cages despite zoo staff’s efforts trying to reunite Poldi and Bibi with aphrodisiacs and interactive games. Zoo staff told the newspaper Austrian Times that the couple reached the point where “they could not stand each other”.
The idea of long-term relationships and break-ups in the animal kingdom appears bizarre because most reptiles are polygamous. Giant turtles find difficult getting a partner due to the shortage number of these species. Tortoises need 20-25 years in captivity and up to 40 in the wild to reach sexual maturity.
Male turtles show in the wild their power by stretching their necks at the highest point while they open their mouths. Unsuccessful males have been seen in the wild trying to have sex with other males, or even rocks. Coupling may last several hours and after mating, the female digs a deep cylindrical hole with her hind legs, into which she lays up to 16 billiard ball-sized eggs.
Monogamy is completely infrequent for reptiles. For instance, research in 2009 reported that “most female crocodilians prefer to mate over and over with the same male, despite encountering a vast array of eligible alligator each year,” Wired Magazine reported. Studies have shown that some birds who bred successfully with a partner one year have ·divorced” and moved on with another partner in following years.
Giant tortoises are the animals in the world with the longest life spans. The life expectancy of captive giant turtles is over 100 years, compared to a shorter span for those in the wild. For instance, a Galápagos tortoise named Harriet passed away at the age of 175 in 2006. Harriet´s death was associated with a heart failure. In the same year, an Aldabra tortoise called Adwaita died too. It was believed that Adwaita was 250 years old.