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On July 16, a worldwide unique breeding success was achieved at Austria's Schönbrunn Zoo aquarium: four young South American Snapping Turtles (Chelydra acutirostris) have recently hatched. Very little is known about this species of turtle, which can be found from Costa Rica to Columbia -- there is hardly any information available about its habits and reproduction nor about the size of population.

"We know of no other zoo where this species is being kept“ says Zoo director Dagmar Schratter. Schönbrunn Zoo was given the parent turtles by a private turtle specialist who had to relocate the animals due to his moving abroad. During the past year keepers have been able to observe several matings, and an x-ray examination in March 2012 showed that both females had developed eggs.

A special enclosure was then built for the water turtles where the females soon buried their eggs in the sandy area especially added for this purpose. In an incubator the eggs were then brooded at temperatures between 28°C and 30°C. After 107 days full of suspense, the first baby turtle hatched. Schratter added, "We are thrilled at being the first to have bred this species while gathering data about their reproduction biology and the development of the eggs.“

For the time being they are not being shown to the public.



Photo Credit: 1,3,4:Daniel Zupanc /2: Schönbrunn Zoo/Anton Weissenbacher