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RIP: Harriet the Galapagos tortoise has died after a short illness.

RIP: Harriet the Galapagos tortoise has died after a short illness. (ABC)

Harriet the tortoise dies

Australia Zoo on Queensland's Sunshine Coast is mourning the loss of the country's oldest captive creature.

Harriet, a 176-year-old giant Galapagos tortoise, was the star attraction.

She even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Senior vet Dr John Hangar says it appears she had a heart attack.

"Harriet sadly died last night after, thankfully, a very short illness," he said.

"She'd been sick yesterday with, in effect, heart failure.

"She had a very fairly acute heart attack and thankfully passed away quietly overnight."

Dr Hangar says Harriet has been credited with helping develop Charles Darwin's scientific studies.

"It's thought she may have been taken off there by Charles Darwin," he said.

"She's spent a period of time in Britain and found herself at the Botanic Gardens in Brisbane from about 1850 or 1860 onwards and eventually she found her way up to Australia Zoo."




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