An Auckland resident is celebrating four offspring at the ripe old age of 50, beating the odds - but not for the reasons you'd imagine.
Zookeepers are delighted that two of their oldest lodgers, a pair of Galapagos tortoises, have produced four young reptiles, helping to grow the endangered species' population.
Eggs from mum Chippie and her 49-year-old partner Smiley hatched on January 26 this year.
After two months of careful rearing, Auckland Zoo is now confident the hatchlings are healthy and hopeful they will survive through to adulthood.
Auckland Zoo's Ectotherms team leader, Don McFarlane, claimed partial credit for the young turtles after helping to incubate the eggs for 110 days.
"We have this very exciting upward turn that we hope reflects the sweet spot we've hit after years of incrementally refining our husbandry for this species," he said.
"However, we are reminding ourselves that everything about these slow-maturing reptiles takes time. These are famously challenging tortoises to rear.
"Success will only truly come when these hatchlings reach adulthood in 20-40 years. It's a long game!"
The young tortoises weighed between 74-88 grams - the same weight as five 50 cent pieces - after hatching, and have much growing and living to do.
Smiley weighs 241kg, and at 49 years old is just a quarter of the way into his possible lifespan.
The Galapagos tortoise is the world's largest tortoise, with 11 surviving species, including the Chelonoidis vicina at Auckland Zoo.
The four new tortoises add to the four currently being kept in Auckland, which originally hatched at Honolulu Zoo and moved across the Pacific in 1983 to New Zealand.
The successful breeding is emotional for zookeepers, after they were forced to euthanise Smiley and Chippie's first hatchling at four months due to abnormalities.
Auckland Zoo is part of an Australasian regional breeding programme to support the species, producing 20 young tortoises to date.