Thursday, February 5, 2009
Never Too Old
After celebrating Evan’s birthday yesterday and making my comment about my age, I thought this story from Wellington, New Zealand, was quite appropriate to share. It seems that a reptile in New Zealand has unexpectedly become a father at the ripe old age of 111.
The centenarian tuatara, named Henry, was thought well past the mating game until he was caught canoodling with a female named Mildred last March—a consummation that resulted in 11 babies being hatched.
Henry was at least 70 years old when he arrived at the museum, “a grumpy old man,” who attacked other reptiles, including females, until a cancerous tumor was removed from his genitals in 2002.
The museum now has 72 of the reptiles after 42 hatchings in the past two years. The museum’s director hopes to use Henry regularly in the breeding program that is helping expand tuatara numbers after they had been savaged by predators.
A male tuatara takes 70 years to fully mature but reaches sexual maturity about age 20.
Okay, I feel better now. And, not nearly as old!