KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — One of Zoo Knoxville’s oldest residents found his way slowly into a new home on Tuesday, much to the delight of onlookers.
Big Al, an Aldabra Giant Tortoise who is older than pretty much everyone on earth, is now at home in his new exhibit outside the Amphibian and Reptile Conservatory that opened in April. It was the first new home for the tortoise since his arrival to Knoxville in 1974.
“It just puts him kind of centerstage here, more guests are going to see him here,” Michael Ogle, a herpetologist for the zoo. said. “And he has plenty of opportunities to get sun and we were able to grow this yard full of grass and clovers for a year and half before he came in there, so we hope it’ll last at least two and a half weeks before he eats it all.”
The 525-pound tortoise is believed to be about 140 years old, but the tortoise himself said on his Twitter feed by saying he’s actually 150 years old.
Next time you’re at Zoo Knoxville, say hello to Big Al. Just take a left after entering the gate. You might also check out Joe the Sloth and Miguel the crocodile who joined the zoo in April, and a new baby zebra named Mosi who was born in December.
“I heard that tortoises live for a long time, so I bet this guy should be the trademark of the Knoxville zoo,” Andrew Jones, a young observer visiting the zoo, said.
To move Big Al across the campus, zoo workers lured him into a metal box at his old home.
If you haven’t yet met the elderly tortoise, you might recall his Super Bowl prediction.