Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Tiny Asian turtles hatched

Posted by: Peter Miller, Keeper

In the last few weeks on the blog, we’ve introduced you to baby bugs, birds, and mammals. So now it’s time for baby reptiles…

Meet a newly hatched, endangered black-breasted leaf turtle. When this turtle was born on June 5, it weighed in at 5 grams—about the weight of a quarter—and its shell is about the size of a quarter too!

A lot of care goes into preparing for a hatching like this. It took about 2 months to gestate in our incubator which was set at about 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

One of the most striking and conspicuous features of this unusual turtle is its large and protuberant eyes that give an alert expression.

Their diet includes snails, slugs, earthworms and other forest floor invertebrates, although some captive individuals apparently also feed on fruit and vegetables.

Like most Asian turtle species, the black-breasted leaf turtle is in grave danger of extinction due to over-collection from the wild for the food, medicine and pet trade. Turtles are highly prized in some cultures for food and traditional medicinal purposes.

The two recently hatched turtles will likely not be on display for some time, but their parents can be seen in the Day Exhibit.

2 comments:

  1. Why is everything so cute? Aren't there any ugly animals at the Woodland Park Zoo? Someday I hope they get their due.

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  2. Per: cute, please note that there's a tawny frogmouth update, and it's on the verge of no longer cute...

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