When it comes to animals you want to be compared to in the bedroom, a tortoise is rarely taken as a compliment. Well, that’s because you’ve never met Diego, maybe the most virile male on earth, who just happens to also be a rare Galapagos hooded tortoise. He’s rare because 50 years ago there were only 14 of them left. Now he has single handedly (or more likely, another body part) fathered anywhere from 800 to 1,000 baby tortoises and is still going strong at 100 years old. And you thought you were tired.
The problem was that prior to the 1970s, there were only 2 males and 12 females of the Chelonoidis hoodensis species left on their native island of Espanola, and they were all too far apart to mate. So they were rounded up and put into their very own breeding program — basically an open bar for animals — when Diego was discovered living at the San Diego Zoo. “We don’t know exactly how or when he arrived in the United States. He must have been taken from Espanola sometime between 1900 and 1959 by a scientific expedition,” Washington Tapia, a tortoise preservation specialist from the program explained. Diego was then brought back to the Galapagos 1976, and the rest is stud history.
Diego weighs about 175 lbs, is about 35 inches long, and he’s single (ladies). As difficult as it might be to admit that a tortoise is more fertile than you are, genetic testing reveals that nearly 40 percent of the upwards of 2,000 turtles released back into the wild are his offspring — so you can call off Maury and give credit where credit is due. It seems slow and steady does in fact win the evolutionary race.