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African Sulcata Tortoise Hatchlings Pose For Family Portrait


These are a few of some 45 hatchlings from the Linton Zoological Gardens in the UK. They are African Sulcata Giant Tortoises, also knowns as Spurred Tortoises -- the third largest tortoise in the world, second only to the Galapagos and the Aldabra Tortoises. Some babies hatched in August, but most did in September, making them about 8 weeks old. All are eating well and growing. Hatchlings begin at 2-3 inches (.08-1.2 cm), quickly reaching 6-10 inches (15–25 cm) within the first few years of their lives. Adults are usually 24 to 36 inch long (60–90 cm) and can weigh 100-200 pounds (45 – 91 kg). 

A representative from the Linton Zoo reported, "Getting these newly hatched all looking the same way proved to be an impossible task. Babies are not normally kept loose in the paddock with the adults, but enjoy the comfort and safety of nice warm vivariums with UV and Infra-red lamps, but we wanted to try to get a nice family portrait!"

Below they are with their mom, Kali, who is 30 years old, and one of the possible fathers of the four males at the Zoo. Each year their herd of six African Sulcata Giant Tortoises produce a few young, but this year they had a bumper hatch --which is how they ended up with over 40 babies from the two clutches.

This species is classified as “Vulnerable” by the IUCN Red List, but fortunately zoological collections have mastered the art of breeding them in captivity. They are native to the Sahara in Africa.




Photo Credit: Linton Zoo