Current Weather
The Spy FM

Methuselah, A Well-Loved Tortoise, Dies At 130 In South Dakota

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
July 12, 2011

Methuselah, a giant tortoise whose life began in the Galapagos Islands 130 years ago, has died in Rapid City, S.D. Since 1954, the huge animal has been a star attraction at Reptile Gardens, where officials estimate that he posed for photographs with tens of thousands of visitors, many of them children.

Methuselah began his life in 1881. Here’s a sampling of what else was going on that year:

James Garfield became president.

Billy the Kid escaped from jail and was killed by Pat Garrett in New Mexico.

The American Red Cross was established.

The O.K. Corral gunfight took place in Tombstone, Arizona.

According to the AP, park officials commonly heard grandparents telling their grandchildren about their own visits to see Methuselah when they were young.

Park public relations director John Brockelsby said that he first met the tortoise when he was three years old.

“My favorite memories are when I rode him as a child and when I would scratch his neck and under his chin,” he told the Rapid City Journal. “Also, feeding him watermelon – his favorite – was always a lot of fun, because if there was ever a chance to see pleasure on a tortoise’s face, it was then. He just loved it.”

The 500-pound tortoise had more watermelon last month, when the park threw a party for his birthday. His 130 years represent a long life, even by giant tortoise standards.

After Methuselah’s arrival at the park at age 73, children were allowed to ride on the tortoise’s back — a practice that became forbidden over the years. And park officials say that in the past 10 days, Methuselah had shown signs that he might not live for much longer.

Brockelsby tells the AP that Reptile Gardens will build a memorial to Methuselah. He said of the giant tortoise, “losing him is like losing an old, good friend.” [Copyright 2011 National Public Radio]

Leave a Reply

9PM to 5AM The Spy

The Spy

An eclectic mix of the Spy's library of more than 10,000 songs curated by Ferris O'Brien.

Listen Live Now!

5AM to 9AM Morning Edition

Morning Edition

For more than two decades, NPR's Morning Edition has prepared listeners for the day ahead with two hours of up-to-the-minute news, background analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts and sports.

View the program guide!

9AM to 10AM The Takeaway

The Takeaway

A fresh alternative in morning news, "The Takeaway" provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage that is unprecedented in public media.

View the program guide!

Upcoming Events in your area (Submit your event today!)

Streaming audio and podcasts

Stream KOSU on your smartphone

Phone Streaming

SmartPhone listening options on this page are intended for many iPhones, Blackberries, etc. with low-cost software applications available to listen to our full-time web streams, both News on KOSU-1 and Classical on KOSU-2.

Learn more about our complete range of streaming services

We're perfecting the patient experience - Stillwater Medical Center