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Galapagos tortoise turns 50 at Perth Zoo

AAP logoAAP 19/09/2016 Rebecca Gredley

Cerro the Galapagos tortoise has celebrated his 50th birthday, making him one of Perth Zoo's oldest residents.

He was treated to a special birthday cake made from some of his favourite treats including watermelon, kiwifruit, pumpkin and strawberries for his birthday party on Monday.

Zookeeper Emily Trainer says Cerro, who weighs more than 200kg, loves eating but because tortoises do not have a good sense of smell, uses his eyes to find food.

"Anything red really gets Cerro's attention, he loves any brightly coloured foods," she said.

"He is the less dominant tortoise out of the two we care for, except when there is food around, then he gets a bit of speed up to make sure he eats first."

Cerro was born at San Diego Zoo and moved to Perth Zoo in 2005 with his younger brother Sierra.

Ms Trainer says when Cerro is not eating, he enjoys a dip in his pond and playing in his mud wallow.

"He is also very smart so we do training sessions with him," she said.

Despite turning 50, Cerro is still considered a youngster for a tortoise, with the oldest Galapagos tortoise on record thought to be about 175 years old, Ms Trainer said.

Galapagos tortoises are the largest tortoise in the word and are vulnerable to extinction, with fewer than 20,000 remaining in the wild.

Their main threats are rats, dogs and cats, which eat tortoise eggs and young tortoises.

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