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Animal Spotlight: Sebastian

Sebastian is one of our staff's favorite animals, because we just can't get over how adorable he is. Sebastian is named after Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. Bach's known preoccupation with structure led (peaking around the 1970s) to various numerological analyses of his compositions. We named Sebastian after a musician to remind our visitors that there is science and math hidden in music.

Sebastian is an African spur thigh tortoise, which is the largest mainland tortoise. His species can live for at least 70 years, if not more! They can also range from 70-200 pounds when full grown. Thankfully Sebastian only weighs about 30 pounds right now, but that's only because he's about 7 years old. He has a lot of growing to do! Did you know that the difference between a turtle and a tortoise is that tortoises have more rounded and domed shells where turtles have thinner, more water-dynamic shells. Tortoises spend most of their time on land and turtles are adapted for life spent in water!

African spur thigh tortoises eat a variety of vegetables and fruits as part of their diet. In the wild they would mainly eat grasses and leaves, but we love to spoil Sebastian with beautiful salads like the one pictured above! Tortoises, and even some turtles, are attracted to the colors red, which is why Sebastian always eats his strawberries and tomatoes first. Tortoises get most of the water they need from their diet and do not usually drink water, so when you feed a tortoise you want to make sure there are some vegetables and fruits in his diet that contain water in them.

Sebastian is just one of the many animals we have at the center to increase students' and visitors' knowledge about their species. Want to help us with the successful care of our animals? Join others in sponsoring an animal at our center. Sebastian is already sponsored, but he would love to see his neighbor Cici the Macaw be as well!

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