The One Where I’m Caught By Surprise

If you’ve visited in the last couple of weeks, you already know about the amazing things happening at my zoo. If you need to catch up, click here, here and here. I’ll wait. There. Ready?

I’ve been keeping a secret. When I went in last week and took photos of the baby box turtle, someone else was there, too. But I couldn’t tell you until now. Click to enlarge. They’re pretty amazing little tortoises.

These are impressed tortoises (Manouria impressa) from southeast Asia. This species is considered vulnerable in the wild, meaning that if things don’t change, they will be threatened with extinction. Impressed tortoises are commonly collected for food, and more recently for the pet trade. This trend is worrisome because impressed tortoises do not adapt to captivity well. Wild-caught animals are devilishly difficult feeders and often starve to death. Setting up a healthy captive breeding population is tricky under the best of circumstances. Last week, we hatched three. Hats off to our reptile department.

The red dots mean that they have been accessioned into the collection and are official. You know not to count your chickens before they hatch. The same rule applies to tortoises. Hatching is a difficult process, and not all hatchlings survive. All three of these did.

Not to be outdone, the box turtle had a surprise for me yesterday. Siblings. Click to enlarge.

The egg teeth are impressive, aren’t they?

And a gratuitous bellybutton shot. Because that’s how I roll.




Happy Friday! What surprised you this week?

28 thoughts on “The One Where I’m Caught By Surprise

  1. I had a ton of surprises this week but it was mostly cause I had my Birthday on Thursday. From books I’ve been meaning to read, to clothes I’ve wanted to buy to the vacation I’ve been dreaming of taking, its all come together this week, 🙂 🙂 Yup, definitely not half as cute as baby tortoise but still definitely cool. 🙂

      • Aww! There was one chilling outside my house about a month ago. He was blending in with the sidewalk. It was like 7:00 a.m., and he was sitting in the sun, I think trying to warm up. I kind of wanted to scoop him up and take him with me, but of course that is not okay. 😛

  2. BC: These little guys are so amazing. I found it interesting that they don’t feed well in captivity. And they are rocking those teeth! So cute. Thanks for sharing these delightful pictures.

  3. I am so late at life this week, but just got to this and AW! Look at their FACES! I think what I like most is that they always look so determined and serious. I do so love turtles and tortoises for their little serious-faces.

    I want a baby box turtle. I would keep him in my pocket and call him Henry and feed him a variety of lettuces.

  4. Just stunning really, I do envy you your job .. we both clean up after animals and get big grins on our faces when they have babies, though none of mine are threatened with extinction! You do enormously important work, and as for those turtle pet collectors.. idiots! .. do these people never research what they are doing.. c

A penny for your thoughts! And by penny, I mean a warm-fuzzy in your heart.

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