We have welcomed some super cute new arrivals to the Noah’s Ark Zoo family over December and January. Five tiny leopard tortoises have hatched from incubation in our Reptile House, causing excitement among our animal team who love it when our animals breed successfully.
Did you know? The leopard tortoise is a reptilenative to Southern and Eastern Africa and can live from 50 to 100 years, so our hatchlings have a long life ahead of them! They are one of the world’s largest species growing up to 70cm in length, but right now our hatchlings are just a little bigger than a 50p coin.
These tortoises can lay 5 to 100 eggs in a clutch (this is the term used for eggs laid by amphibians and reptiles); our leopard tortoise parents laid 14 eggs between them, so we may be seeing more arrivals over the coming weeks!
Where are the hatchlings now? As the hatchlings are so young and vulnerable, it is important that our reptile keepers are able to keep a close eye on them. Due to their size the hatchlings can become cold very quickly, so their enclosure must maintain a temperature of around 27°C. The hatchlings are currently in an off show enclosure to ensure this can be regulated easily by the reptile keepers. Once they have grown a little more, they will then be on show to the public, so stay tuned for news!
Come and visit the proud parents! In the meantime, the five leopard tortoise parents are on show to the public and can be found in their mixed-exhibit next to the gibbons. In our creep (a group of tortoises) of leopard tortoises we have one male (Terry) and four females (Topsy, Turvy, Maggie-May and Gwen). Also in the same enclosure we have one African spur tortoise and eight ring tailed lemurs. Mixed exhibits such as this one provide enrichment for our animals through their interactions with one another. We are often lucky enough to capture this on camera, as you can see in this video!