It’s been a busy hatching season for Western Pond Turtles at the Sacramento Zoo. So far, seven eggs have been collected from the zoo’s Turtles and placed in an incubator until they hatch after 13 to 17 weeks.
Photo Credit: Sacramento Zoo
The tiny hatchlings weigh only five grams at hatching – about the same as five paper clips. They’ll stay indoors under zoo keepers’ care until they are large enough to be released into lake exhibits within the zoo.
The Sacramento Zoo is home to one of the largest populations of Western Pond Turtles housed within a zoo. As Turtles are found in the zoo’s lakes, they are weighed and measured. This data set, compiled over the last two decades, adds to the body of knowledge on growth information for this species. Western Pond Turtles in zoos are managed by the AZA Species Survival Plan to maintain genetic diversity.
In the wild, Western Pond Turtles are native to the western coast of North America, from Canada to Baja California, living in marshes, ponds, and wetlands, where they often bask on logs and boulders. These Turtles have disappeared from much of the northern segment of their range because wetlands have been converted for agricultural use. As a result, Turtle populations have become fragmented. The species is listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.