Meet the newest ‘star’ at our Reptile World! Not only is the hatchling a Star Tortoise, but this is only the second time Taronga’s Reptile Keepers have bred this species in 30 years.
Looking at the youngster now you might wonder why it’s named so, but as an adult it will have very distinctive star-like patterns across its high-domed shell.
The youngster hatched on the 24th January from the only fertile egg in the clutch. Two weeks on, the hatchling is smaller than a 50 cent coin, but by the time it reaches maturity it will weigh over seven kilos, but that won’t be for six to 12 years depending on its sex.
Right from the start the hatchling was independent, but being so tiny it’s being specially cared for behind the scenes by the Keepers. However, pop over to Reptile World when you’re next at the Zoo and you’ll be able to see the adult Star Tortoises on display and might even glimpse the hatchling’s three year old cousin which is just beginning to move in with the adults. He's still very small.
In the wild, Star Tortoises are threatened by hunting, habitat loss and their appeal in the pet trade.