A few months ago, ZooBorns reported on two endangered Madagascar Big-headed Turtles who laid a total of 33 eggs at the Houston Zoo. Because the ground was too cold for the eggs to develop, the females were induced to lay the eggs in the safety of the zoo clinic. On May 18 and 19, three of the eggs hatched!
Photo Credits: Beth Moorehead/Houston Zoo (1); Tina Carpenter/Houston Zoo (2,3)
Though the remainder of the 33 eggs were infertile, zoo keepers say this result is not unusual in young female turtles who have just reached maturity.
The hatchlings are currently behind the scenes until they are old enough to be on exhibit. In the meantime, zoo visitors can see their older siblings, who hatched on September 15, inside the reptile house.
The Big-headed Turtles live in the moat of the zoo's Lemur exhibit. Zoo keepers have created a sandy spot for the female turtles to dig in and lay their next clutch of eggs.
The hatching of these Turtles is significant because they are one of the world's most endangered Turtle species. Found only on the island of Madagascar, they are traded illegally for use in traditional Asian medicine.