Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Galapagos Tortoise hatchlings are celebrating their first birthday this month. The hatchlings were born on 24 and 26 January 2014 and have been doing very well under the care of their keepers.
Keepers will not be able to determine whether the hatchlings are male or female until they are approximately five years of age but have given them gender neutral names in the meantime. Turbo, aptly named because every time the hatchling is put on the ground it takes off as fast as its legs can carry it, now weighs approximately 203g while Pena weighs in at around 205g. These weights indicate healthy growth as they have more than doubled in size since hatching, however they have another 20-25 years until they reach their full size.
The hatchlings enjoy a plant based diet including lettuce, endive, broccoli and rose petals. They are currently on display at the Galapagos Tortoise exhibit alongside three year old hatchling, NJ, who was born at the Zoo in 2011. The enclosures are fitted with mist spraying hoses to control the temperature during the summer months and ensure optimum conditions for the hatchlings.
Galapagos Tortoises are classified as vulnerable in the wild, with possibly only 10,000 remaining on the Galapagos Archipelago, where feral animals are the main threat to the species. For more information about this species catch the Galapagos Tortoise keeper talk at 2:35pm daily and wish the hatchlings a happy birthday while you’re there!