Tiny Tim, the Indian Star tortoise who stole the hearts of millions around the world with his adorable antics, celebrated his first birthday yesterday at the Australian Reptile Park with his other gigantic cousins, Hugo and Estrella, the Galapagos tortoises.

The little tortoise became an internet sensation last year when a video of him eating a giant strawberry that was bigger than him at the time went viral, amassing millions of views on social media. Since then, Tiny Tim has captured the hearts of staff and visitors at the Australian Reptile Park with his playful personality and adventurous spirit.

To mark his first birthday, zookeepers organised a special birthday party for Tiny Tim, and his bigger cousins, Hugo, and Estrella the giant Galapagos tortoises joined him to celebrate. The two enormous tortoises, who weigh 183kg and 55kg respectively, were happy to welcome Tiny Tim (who only weighs a miniscule 78g) into their family and spend the day with him.

During their adventure, the tortoises went on a stroll (a very slow one) together throughout the Main Park area, with visitors watching in amazement at how little Tiny Tim is compared to his much older cousins. As a special first birthday treat, the little Indian Star tortoise was given another gigantic strawberry for him to munch on, and this time, the strawberry was SMALLER than he was.

Visitors to the Australian Reptile Park can see Tiny Tim over the ANZAC Day long weekend during the Galapagos tortoise walk where he will be joining his giant cousins as they take a walk outside their enclosure to meet visitors at 11am daily.

Billy Collett, Operations Manager at the Australian Reptile Park, said, “It’s amazing to see how much Tiny Tim has grown and developed in the past year. He has become an important member of our reptile family, and we wanted to make sure he had a special birthday celebration. We thought it would be a great idea for him to meet his giant cousins, and they hit it off right away!”

“Tiny Tim is a real star, and we’re grateful for all the love and support he has received from around the world. We hope he continues to bring joy and happiness to people for many years to come,” Mr Collett added.

Listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List, wild populations of the Indian Star tortoise species are in decline. Found in India and Sri Lanka, they are amongst the smallest tortoise species in the world. Sadly, due to their cute size, they are victim to the illegal pet trade and in 2019, the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banned the illegal trading of the species.

“As cute as he is, it’s important to highlight the horrors of the global illegal reptile trade, of which this species is a very unfortunate victim of. At the Australian Reptile Park, we support responsible reptile pet ownership and implore prospective pet owners to get their reptile licence and only purchase native reptile species that make good pets,” he concluded.