So long Harriet

June 23, 2006

Harriet the Tortoise

From the BBC:

Harriet the tortoise dies at 175

Harriet the tortoise, one of the world's oldest known creatures, has died in Australia aged about 175.

. . . "She had a very fairly acute heart attack and thankfully passed away quietly overnight," Dr Hangar said. 

 . . . Some people believe that Harriet was studied by British naturalist Charles Darwin.  Darwin took several young Giant Galapagos tortoises back to London after his epic voyage on board HMS Beagle.

DNA testing has suggested the giant creature was born around 1830, a few years before Darwin visited the Galapagos archipelago in 1835.

However, Harriet belonged to a sub-species of tortoise only found on an island that Darwin never visited.

At the time of her 175th birthday party, Harriet weighed 150kg (23 stone) and was roughly the size of a dinner table.

She was the star attraction at the Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

Her keepers put her longevity down to a stress-free life.

That's how I'd like to go, at 175 and quietly in my sleep.