130-year-old Thomas - Britain's tortoise dies of rat bite

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Britain's oldest tortoise passes away
London, May 17: A rat bite can be poisonous. We know that. But it proved to be fatal for Britain's oldest tortoise.

Thomas, a tortoise, born in 1892, who survived two world wars, including a Nazi bomb during the London blitz, met with a rather tame end as it eventually succumbed to a rat bite. Thomas had become a national institution for its incredible longevity. It died at the age of 130 in the garden of its owner's home, after being attacked by a rodent.

"Thomas was like a member of the family. He was bitten on the leg by a rogue rat in the garden and the wound became so inflamed that it started pushing into his shell. He wasn't eating or appearing to get any better, so a week later, as a family, we made the decision to put him to sleep," said the owner to The Hindu.

Thomas fought till the end spending five days on a course of strong antibiotics fed through a tube, and after lesser than a week, his owners decided not to let it suffer anymore put it to sleep forever.

The owner, Le Gallez, said she inherited Thomas 35 years ago from her late cousin Grace Hilditch who got it as a birthday present from her father in 1922.

She revealed that Thomas was actually a female but by the time his "dark secret" was discovered, the name had stuck. "People suggested I rename him Thomasina, but I thought it would be cruel," she said

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