After 115 Years Together, Turtle Couple Calls It Quits

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Michael Fairchild / Getty Images

A pair of tortoises spending time together. Clearly, not Bibi and Poldi.

If these turtles can’t make it work, what hope do the rest of us have?

Bibi and Poldi have been together longer than most humans have been alive: both are 115 years old, and have known each other nearly since birth. The two giant turtles share a cage at a zoo in the Austrian town of Klagenfurt, where they have been living for the past 36 years. But it looks like that time might be coming to a close, and Bibi is ready to move on.

(MORE: Last Known Galápagos Tortoise Seeks Soul Mate, With Little Success)

In recent weeks, Bibi has started attacking her partner (how’s that for a sign that the relationship is over?), biting off chunks of Poldi’s shell and carrying out “several further attacks” — prompting the two to be physically separated. Zoo officials say that the giant turtles, weighing over 220 pounds each, could kill each other if they wanted to.

Apparently, it’s quite rare for turtles to separate after having been paired for so long. It’s certainly not for lack of effort: zoo workers have tried marriage counseling through the form of bonding games and creating good feelings through food. Nothing has worked.

(MORE: ‘Extinct’ Giant Tortoise: Still Kicking After All These Years?)

But maybe the underlying tension between the two is pretty simple. The zoo’s director, Helga Happ, told the Austrian Times: “We get the feeling they can’t stand the sight of each other anymore.”

Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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