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Tennessee Welcomes Tiny Spiny Turtle Hatchling

One Spiny Hill Turtle, Heosemys Spinosa, hatched at the Tennessee Aquarium Monday, September 20th from a clutch of three eggs that were laid on June 18th.  The eggs were incubated at 82 degrees.  The hatchling weighs 26 grams and is roughly 2.25 inches across. This is only the eighth successful hatchling of this species at the Aquarium.  According to senior herpetologist Bill Hughes, each successful hatchling improves the odds of this species' survival. “We now have seventeen Spiny Hill Turtles in our collection,” Hughes said. “There are eight adults and nine juveniles. The adults are part of the Tennessee Aquarium’s Asian Turtle Breeding Program.”



Interestingly, this little "Hill" Turtle bears a striking resemblance to Morla, the giant sneezing mountain turtle in The Neverending Story.


Photo Credits: The Tennessee Aquarium

Spiny hill turtles, also known as spiny terrapins, spiny turtles or sunburst turtles, are endangered in their native range which includes Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.

While this new baby turtle will remain in a backup area until the sex can be determined, visitors can see two spiny hill turtle hatchlings from last season in the Aquarium’s Turtle Gallery on Level 2 of the River Journey building.