September 24, 2015

At the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Indiana, an Aldabra giant tortoise named Norbert celebrated his 53rd birthday Wednesday by digging into a large salad with sweet potatoes and cucumbers.

Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo
Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

After photos of the celebration were uploaded to Facebook, many users posted comments asking why the tortoise was crying, which prompted the zoo to clarify that the reptile was not just getting sentimental about growing old or because he was eating a salad instead of a birthday cake; the tears are from saline drops that are administered by his keepers so that his eyes stay clean and moisturized.

Besides eating vegetables, the giant tortoise also enjoys mud baths, neck rubs with baby oil, “sprinkler time” — in which “he sits and lets the water hit him,” according to an article on the zoo’s website entitled “Norbert’s Favorite Things.”

Write to Olivia B. Waxman at olivia.waxman@time.com.

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