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Madagascar big-headed turtles hatch at Houston Zoo

Madagascar big-headed turtles hatch at Houston Zoo

HOUSTON :  Not only have eight baby endangered turtles been born since August at the Houston Zoo, but 20 more are expected to hatch in the next few months.

In August, eight Madagascar big-headed turtles were found swimming in a moat at the zoo’s Wortham World of Primates. Around the same time, zoo officials discovered a pregnant turtle full of 20 eggs, which have been laid and are expected to hatch within the next few months.

Due to overexploitation from the growing human population, the Madagascar big-headed turtles’ population, once distributed throughout western Madagascar rivers and lakes, has drastically reduced.
The turtles are now on the Turtle Conservation Fund’s top 25 endangered turtles list.

Two male turtles and five juvenile big-headed turtles were donated to the Houston Zoo after being confiscated in 2005 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The turtles are kept at the zoo’s Wortham World of Primates that has a swimming pool heater installed to keep the turtles warm during the winter months.

Zoo officials said the hatchlings, which have an average weight of less than .02 pounds, began feeding immediately on a diet of aquatic turtle pellets and romaine lettuce.

Click here to learn more about the Madagascar big-headed turtles.