Dallas Zoo

Between making the world’s slowest grand entrance and catching up with his six tortoise roommates, Twelve the 285-pound Galápagos tortoise, enjoyed a decadent spread of fruits and veggies.

Meghan Overdeep
July 27, 2018

Nobody throws a party like animal lovers!

This week the Dallas Zoo threw the sweetest “Welcome Home” party for one of their biggest, slowest moving residents, a 30-year-old Galápagos tortoise named Twelve. Zoo staff pulled out all the stops to celebrate the 285-pound gentle giant’s triumphant return to his habitat from a 16-month hospital stay to treat a slow-healing pressure wound.

Between making the world’s slowest grand entrance and catching up with his six tortoise roommates, Twelve enjoyed a decadent spread of fruits and veggies. The crew of dedicated keepers who kept him happy, comfortable and enriched during his extended hospital stay looked on happily as he settled right back into the swing of things.

Welcome Home Tortoise Twelve

HE'S BACK!: We threw a super-cheesy "Welcome Home" party today for our lovable 285-pound giant Galápagos tortoise named Twelve who just returned from a 16-month stay in our hospital. Last year, the 30-year-old fella developed a challenging pressure wound on the underside of his right rear leg that would not heal, causing him lameness. After multiple surgeries; outside consultations with human doctors on wound care; and the use of innovative electromagnetic pulse therapy, Twelve’s wound finally healed. He was recently given a clean bill of health to return to his habitat with our six other Galápagos tortoises. Throughout Twelve’s hospital stay, hospital keepers went to great lengths to ensure the massive, grass-loving tortoise was comfortable and enriched, which included growing special grass for him to enjoy indoors during the winter months with UV lights to keep him warm. Due to the location and the nature of the wound, and the slow healing rate for reptiles in general, Twelve’s case proved to be challenging but our world-class animal care team gave him the expert care he needed to fully heal. We missed ya, buddy. Happy to have you back.

Posted by Dallas Zoo on Thursday, July 26, 2018

In a Facebook post accompanying a video of the festivities, the Dallas Zoo explained how last year Twelve developed a pressure wound on the underside of his right rear leg that would not heal, causing him lameness. After multiple surgeries, outside consultations with human doctors on wound care, and the use of innovative electromagnetic pulse therapy, he was finally given a clean bill of health this past week.

But getting him there took a village.

“Throughout Twelve’s hospital stay, hospital keepers went to great lengths to ensure the massive, grass-loving tortoise was comfortable and enriched, which included growing special grass for him to enjoy indoors during the winter months with UV lights to keep him warm,” the zoo wrote.

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Welcome home, Twelve!