Four Western Swamp Tortoises hatched at Australia’s Adelaide Zoo may be small, but they are extremely important to the future of this critically endangered reptile species.
The first of the Tortoises hatched on March 28, but the three remaining eggs hatched over a three-day period from May 13-15. It is not unusual for Western Swamp Tortoises to remain in the egg, fully developed, until the right weather conditions are present for hatching.
Zoo staff report that the baby Tortoises are developing well and feast regularly on their favorite foods – brine shrimp and mosquito larvae.
In the wild, these small Tortoises live in fresh water and rarely weigh more than one pound (500g) as adults.
With these four hatchlings, Adelaide Zoo now holds fifteen Western Swamp Tortoises. In the wild, these reptiles are found in just two reserves in Western Australia - Ellen Brook Reserve and Twin Swamp Reserve. Only about 200 of these Tortoises are thought to remain in these areas. Adelaide Zoo and Perth Zoo work together to reintroduce the species to the wild and many of the zoo’s Tortoises will be released into their native habitat.
See more Tortoise photos below the fold.