Clocking 237 metres per hour, the tortoise marathon enabled us to move Cerro through the Zoo grounds and into a waiting horse float for a road trip to Murdoch University Veterinary Hospital for a full body x-ray.
The very food motivated tortoise who tips the scale past 200 kilograms was enticed by pawpaw, capsicum and an assortment of his favourite foods. He’s lived at Perth Zoo with his brother, Sierra since 2006 but this was the first time he had taken a stroll through the Zoo grounds.
Powered by encouragement from his keepers and due to his fixation on his food he didn’t seem to notice the reactions of his Zoo neighbours as he passed by. But the hyenas didn’t think it was any laughing matter, ‘Shinyanga’ the lioness certainly was unimpressed, staring intently as Cerro sauntered past and the baboons made quite a commotion when they saw what looked like a large walking rock!
Given Galapagos Tortoise can live well into their hundreds, at 49 years of age Cerro is a relative youngster. The trip to the vets allowed us to get a full body x-ray of him whilst he is young and sprightly so if he does experience any health difficulties later in life we have a good picture of what ‘normal’ is for him to compare and contrast against.
Although it was one small step for man, the morning’s activities was one giant leap for a tortoise. After a massive morning for a massive tortoise, Cerro returned to Perth Zoo and went eagerly into his heated hut for a well-earned rest. We can only imagine the conversation he had with his brother about his adventures.