Interesting Facts About Alagba, Tortoise That Lived To The Age Of 344 Years


Many Nigerians may have been surprised to learn of the death of tortoise in Ogbomoso, Oyo state which was over 300 years old.

However many may not have known of the existence of this tortoise known as ‘Alagba’ (elderly one), prior to news of its demise.

Well, here are a few things to learn about the legendary reptile

It was said to have been brought into the palace by Isan Okumoyede, the third king of Ogbomoso who reigned from 1770 to 1797.

History has it that the tortoise had grown from being a king’s pet to be a companion for successive kings, and well on its way to becoming a deity in the history of the kingdom.

Alagba served Oba Okumoyede and many other kings after him, brought tourists from different parts of the world.

For many, Alagba was the symbol of the Ogbomoso township”, and according to reports, the king who took care of the tortoise the most, is the only king of Ogbomoso in the last three centuries to have outlived the elderly one.

Read Also: Shehu Sani: What Death Of Ogbomosho Tortoise Means For Nigeria

Oba Oladunni Oyewumi is also reported to have dedicated two staff members of the palace, dedicated to it.

The late tortoise was also a lover of pounded yam but also ate rice, amala, fruits like pawpaw, watermelon and so on

Alagba “eats every food eaten by any Omoluabi (Yoruba for person of honour)”. He loved pounded yam, Samuel Ojo, one of the dedicated carers, said in a 2018 interview.

“Alagba eats rice, pounded yam, amala, sweet drinks, and fruits, such as pawpaw, watermelon… basically, anything Omoluabi eats. In addition to this, he eats grass. We human beings also eat grass, but our grass is vegetable, ewedu, and so on,” Ojo said.

“There is no food you give him, no drink you give him that he won’t take.”

“According to the history we heard, this is about the 20th king he is serving, and one of the oldest, and longest-ruling monarch is the current king Oba Jimoh Oladunni,” Ojo.

It was also revealed that he drinks water once in two weeks and takes a bath every Saturday.

Interesting right? We thought so too.


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