Zoo tortoise reveals mistaken identity

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November 18, 2009 5:59:27 AM PST
A tortoise's zookeepers in Cleveland are the ones feeling slow because after more than 50 years, they've discovered "Mary" is actually a male.

Officials at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo say it can be tough to establish the sex of a giant Aldabra tortoise because the reproductive organs normally aren't visible. But Mary's maleness was unexpectedly revealed earlier this month during a routine exam.

When the 400-pound tortoise arrived at the zoo in 1955, it was assumed he was a she because of a flatter shell, shorter tail and all-around smaller size than most males.

Mary is estimated to be between 75 and 100 years old.

Zoo Director Steve Taylor is considering whether the senior citizen deserves a new name.


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