Taronga Western Plains Zoo has achieved a national breeding success hatching Australasia’s first Galapagos Tortoise in March this year.
The hatchling came out of the egg on March 19 and has been carefully looked after by keepers and veterinary staff. It now weighs 94.8 grams and is only 8cm long but it’s doing very well.
The hatchling is currently housed in a special area behind the scenes which is temperature controlled allowing keepers to ensure optimum conditions for this new arrival.
The Galapagos Tortoise hatchling currently eats very small amounts of leaves and chaff as well as some fruit and vegetables once every three days and enjoys daily sessions in the sun as well as a soak in warm water three times a week.
“The clutch of eggs was collected from the nest and was incubated artificially” said Keeper, Addy Watson.
“We have been working towards breeding Galapagos Tortoise for almost 10 years and to finally achieve success is a testament to the dedication and animal husbandry expertise of the team.”
“The hatchling is currently only 0.033% the weight of our largest male. It will take approximately 20 – 25 years for this hatchling to reach full size. At just five years old it will still be only 30cm in length,” said Addy.
The Galapagos Tortoise hatchling is currently not on display but will soon make its public debut for visitors to come and see this amazing creature.
Galapagos Tortoise are classified as vulnerable in the wild, with less than 20,000 remaining on the Galapagos Archipelago with feral animals the main threat for the species.