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NATIONAL BRIEFING / AND FINALLY . . .

Tortoise's secret is out of the shell

November 19, 2009|Times Wire Reports

A tortoise's zookeepers in Cleveland are the ones feeling slow after discovering after more than 50 years that "Mary" is actually a male.

Officials at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo say it can be tough to establish the sex of a Aldabra giant tortoise because the reproductive organs normally aren't visible. But Mary's maleness was revealed this month during a routine exam. A spokesman says the zoo is renaming the tortoise Terry.

When the reptile arrived at the zoo in 1955, it was assumed he was a she because of a flatter shell, shorter tail and smaller size than most males. He is estimated to be 75 to 100 years old.

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