Giant Family for a Giant Tortoise

by Laura Overdeck

It’s Mother’s Day, the day we celebrate everything our moms do for us. But why not celebrate all moms, not just humans? A giant Galapagos tortoise was 80 years old when she had babies for the first time! Nigrita hatched 9 mini tortoises, which hatched from eggs like any reptile. Galapagos tortoises can live to 150 years old. It’s the largest tortoise: it can weigh more than 900 pounds! By the way, what’s the difference between a tortoise and a turtle? They’re both reptiles, so they both breathe air and lay eggs. But turtles spend most of their time in the water, while tortoises live on dry land…for a very, very long time.

Wee ones: If you’ve counted 5 of the baby tortoises, what numbers do you say to count the next two babies?

Little kids: If you have 1 pet tortoise, 2 pet turtles and a pet snake, how many pet reptiles do you have?  Bonus: How many legs do they have all together? Count up to figure it out!

Big kids: If Nigrita hatches 9 babies this year, 6 babies next year, 10 the year after that, then 7 the year after that…what number would she hatch next to keep the pattern? Bonus: Who weighs more, 9 baby tortoises who’ve grown to 80 pounds each, or their 700-pound mom?

Answers:
Wee ones: 6 and 7.

Little kids: 4 pet reptiles.  Bonus: 12 legs, since the snake doesn’t have any!

Big kids: 11 babies. You’re zigzagging between 9, 10, 11… and 6, 7, 8…  Bonus: The 9 baby tortoises, since they weigh 720 pounds together.

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