Australasia’s first Galapagos Tortoise hatchling, ‘NJ’, turned five years old on Saturday March 19th 2016. NJ celebrated with favourite treats such as hibiscus flowers and lettuce prepared by Zoo Keepers.
When first hatched NJ weighed in at less than 50 grams and measured less than 8cm long - normal size for a Galapagos hatchling. Keepers recently weighed NJ and he now tips the scales at a healthy 3.59kg, measuring 36cm long. It will take approximately 20 – 25 years for this hatchling to reach full size and can live up to 150 years.
“We are very happy with NJ’s development so far, during the next health check vets will hopefully be able to determine whether NJ is a male or female,” said Keeper Linda Matthews.
NJ spends time soaking up the sunshine in the purpose built hatchling exhibit, and often gets to interact with younger Galapagos Tortoise hatchlings Turbo and Pena born in January 2014.
Galapagos Tortoise are classified as vulnerable in the wild. The population could be as low as 10,000 remaining on the Galapagos Archipelago, where feral animals are the main threat to the species.
A great time to see the Galapagos Tortoise is during the scheduled feed every afternoon from 2:35pm (2:45pm during the Easter break and holidays).