Giant Galapagos tortoises race one another to their new home

Giant Galapagos tortoises raced each other to their new home as ZSL London Zoo announced a new exhibit.

After deciding to move sisters Dolly, Polly and Priscilla to a new shelter in the complex, zookeepers opted to allow them to make the journey by foot instead of van.

The trio were pitted against each other in a race to the venue guided by brightly coloured markers, with special travel crates on hand in case any of them chose to take a detour.

The race was tense, with Polly behind at the beginning before eventually crossing the finishing line on 1hr 09 mins – a two-minute lead on closest rival Priscilla.

Giant tortoises Polly and Priscilla racing against each other. They are neck and neck.
Polly and Priscilla racing against each other (ZSL London Zoo/PA)

Sibling Dolly was initially in the lead but took too many breaks on route, leaving her trailing behind with a time of 1hr 21mins.

Dr Chris Michaels, head of the zoo’s herpetology team, said: “We made sure to have plenty of tasty cucumber, carrots and watermelon handy as extra encouragement if needed.”

Each tortoise was guided by a keeper, who had the tortoise’s names on specially designed ZSL shirts.

The three guides for the tortoises. They are standing in front of the Giants of the Galapagos exhibit, smiling.
(Left to right) Joe Capon, Chris Michaels and Charli Ellis, who guided the tortoises to their new home (ZSL London Zoo/PA)

ZSL London Zoo is opening the Giants of the Galápagos exhibit on October 9, where the public will be transported to the famous archipelago.