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A Tortoise Tinder Match – But Hugo’s Taking It Slow

This Valentine’s Day, a Galapagos Tortoise in a Central Coast wildlife sanctuary has finally found love - online.

Hugo the tortoise has been unlucky in love. For years, the keepers at the Australian Reptile Park have been searching for a partner for the 68-year-old (which in Galapagos Tortoise years, is still quite young and spry).

“We literally tried everything to find Hugo a girlfriend,” says Daniel Rumsey, the Head of Reptiles at the Park near Gosford, which Hugo has called home since 1963.

So the keepers decided to go about finding a match the modern way, and last month set Hugo up with a Tinder account.

This in the same week as cows got their own dating app, Tudder. But unfortunately there’s no Galapagos tortoise equivalent, so Hugo had to wade into the human pool.

So Hugo got dozens of matches but they were unfortunately with women of the wrong species.

But finally his eyes fell on Estrella. A 21-year-old bombshell from Germany who was actually another Galapagos Tortoise.

That’s the look of a tortoise swiping-right (Image: The Australian Reptile Park)
That’s the look of a tortoise swiping-right (Image: The Australian Reptile Park)

And despite the age difference, it seems they hit it off. After a bit of conversation back and forth, it seems they’ve agreed to be each other’s Valentines.

Of course all tortoises know that slow and (going) steady wins the race. But that doesn’t make a long-distance relationship any easier.

So at the moment Hugo has to settle for a picture of Estrella pinned up in his enclosure.

Hugo’s also mastered the basics of Clipart (Image: The Australian Reptile Park)
Hugo’s also mastered the basics of Clipart (Image: The Australian Reptile Park)

(Although those romantic Valentine’s flowers just make Hugo hungry.)

Valentine’s Day tip for tortoises: flowers can also double as candy (Image: The Australian Reptile Park)
Valentine’s Day tip for tortoises: flowers can also double as candy (Image: The Australian Reptile Park)

But there’s good news ahead for these love-reptiles. Later in the year, Estrella has pledged to move to Australia to be with Hugo.

And the keepers can tell that Hugo is getting very excited at the prospect of dancing shell-to-shell with Estrella.

“He’s got a bit of an extra bounce in his step now,” Rumsey says.

“I can’t wait to meet her myself and get to know her personality! Who knows, maybe within the next few years we will have some baby Galapagos tortoises!”

For now though, Hugo is head over heels.

Not actually Hugo
Not actually Hugo