It’s no secret that turtles take their time getting around. But did you know that even hatching out of their eggs can take up to a week? That was the case with one of the zoo’s newest additions – a baby Black-breasted Leaf Turtle. This little one hatched out of an egg no bigger than the end of your thumb back on May 10th of this year.
In the back room of Dr. Diversity in the Indonesian Rainforest, the zookeepers take care of the eggs because the turtles will actually leave them once they’re laid. The zookeepers make sure they’re incubated to help them hatch successfully. The eggs incubate for up to 70 days before hatching. Once they’ve hatched, the babies are left to survive on their own – mom & dad do not take care of them! Zookeepers regularly measure and weigh the reptile babies to track their growth. Black-breasted Leaf Turtles live off of a diet of insects, worms, grubs, and decaying fruit. They’re native to southeast Asia and are endangered thanks to the pet trade and their use in traditional Chinese medicine.
This back room is home to another reptile baby: the Red-Eyed Crocodile Skink, hatched about 6 months ago. These skinks are also native to Southeast Asia, but are not endangered. Zookeepers collect the eggs and incubate them too.
According to zookeeper Dave Messmann:
The mother will actually stick around the eggs of these guys. She doesn’t raise them – but it’s a territory kind of thing.
The reptile babies aren’t on display just yet, but no matter how it gets outside, you can check out the other cold-blooded reptiles all summer-long in the Indonesian Rainforest.