This Is What a 550lb Giant Tortoise Looks Like Compared to a Human

People are in shock after realizing just how big giant tortoises really are, after seeing a 550-pound reptile compared to a human.

A clip of the supersized creature heading to lunch has caused a stir online, after it was shared to Twitter on Wednesday.

The caption reveals the pair are Aldabra tortoises, officially the Aldabrachelys gigantea, with the bigger of the two aptly named Tank.

The vegetarians move at a pretty impressive pace—for a tortoise—but their size is only realized as they pass an adult woman, with their shells large enough for her to sit on.

That's unsurprising as 56-year-old Tank weighs in at an impressive 550 pounds (lbs), while his pal, Orville, is a staggering 114 years old, at the time of filming.

In the background a third giant tortoise, named Samson, who's a sprightly 31, is already munching on lunch, which is where the herbivores are heading.

A spokesperson for Reptile Gardens told Newsweek: "I think we humans, could learn a lot from our Gentle Giants, Tank and Orville, certainly the secret to a long and happy life ! Aldabra Tortoises are some of the longest lived vertebrate animals in the world. A good healthy diet, lots of naps with good friends, low stress, treat each other with kindness and most importantly, don't let the bumps in the road (or poles in Tanks case) slow you down!!"

The tweet, which has amassed more than half a million views, was originally shot at Reptile Gardens, in South Dakota. The 39-second long clip was shot in 2019, and has racked up more than 11 million views on YouTube, and can be seen here.

The caption says: "Vroom! Our Aldabra tortoises (Aldabrachelys gigantea) move the fastest when they see that lunch is ready.

"These giant tortoises are native to the Aldabra atoll, part of the Seychelles islands, off the northern coast of Madagascar. Males can grow to over 4 feet in length. Females are much smaller.

Screenshot from Reptile Gardens video.
Screenshot from Reptile Gardens video. It shows the giant tortoise, Tank, who weighs 550 pounds. YouTube/Reptile Gardens

"Tank, closest to the camera, is a whopping 550 lbs and is 56 years old this year. Orville is the tortoise beside him, and moves pretty well for being 114! Samson, 31, is already over by the food pile munching lettuce."

The trio are described by the facility as their "most popular animal residents." National Geographic notes the species can reach 175 years old, the oldest ever recorded, and grow to 573 lbs.

Theorizing why the tortoises have such a long life span, Reptile Gardens' public relations director, John Brockelsby, said: "These gentle giants are strict vegetarians, there is no fat or cholesterol in their diets. They move incredibly slowly, and have no stress in their lives... they are completely docile, peaceful creatures. We figure if humans followed these guidelines, we would probably see a dramatic increase in our own life spans."

A recent Instagram post shared more insight into the reptile's longevity, saying: "These gentle giants enjoy: scratches on the neck, watermelon, lounging in their pools, and taking naps. Maybe that is the secret to living for 150 years..."

While Tank is already a centenarian, he has a way to go before beating South Dakota's tortoise record, which belongs to the late Methuselah.

The 600lb behemoth was born in 1881 in the Galápagos Islands, before coming to Reptile Gardens in 1954. He spent the rest of his years enjoying watermelon on his birthday, before passing away in 2011, aged 130.

Videos such as this one could be all that's left to remember the giant tortoise species, with the Aldabra tortoises classified as vulnerable, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

While efforts have been made in recent years to conserve the species as a whole, they are still at risk.

The website of the Galapagos Conservation Trust noted: "All of the Galapagos giant tortoise species alive today are under threat and are on the IUCN Red List—they range from Vulnerable to Critically Endangered."

The plight of the entire species was personified by the death of the last-known Pinta Island tortoise, dubbed Lonesome George, who died on June 24 2012, taking with him the last hopes for his sub-species.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said: "The world-famous giant tortoise affectionately known as 'Lonesome George' passed away. He was the last surviving land tortoise from Pinta Island, one of the northern islands in the Galápagos.

"Thought to be 100 years old, Lonesome George lived at the Charles Darwin Research Station since he was found in 1971. For more than three decades, the Galápagos National Park tried to save the Pinta subspecies by finding George a mate. Unfortunately they did not succeed. Sadly with Lonesome George's passing, there will be no more Pinta Island tortoises."

Update 8/27/21, 7:04 a.m. ET: This article was updated with comment, video and a photo from Reptile Gardens.