Rare Twin Tortoises Hatch in New Jersey
Rare twin tortoises hatched this week in New Jersey and the tiny reptiles are doing great, their caretaker said.
BumbleBee and Yellowjacket hatched Sunday, much to the surprise of Chris Leone, the owner and operator of Garden State Tortoise in Howell. The family-owned business is run by Leone and his wife and is dedicated to caring for and preserving turtles and tortoises.
« These twins have gone viral and that’s huge for the reptile community, » Leone said.
Leone was surprised Sunday when he noticed that a baby tortoise was having trouble leaving its egg. He let the egg sit for awhile, hoping the baby would eventually hatch. Although the baby was using its egg tooth to try to leave the egg, it wasn’t having much luck.
Leone eventually helped the baby out, discovering that the little tortoise was having trouble because it was still attached to its twin by an umbilical cord-like yolk sac.
« Immediately we knew we had a bit of a challenge on our hands, » Leone said.
Twin tortoises are uncommon, according to Leone, and when they do make it to the hatching stage one is usually dead within the egg or the two animals are conjoined.
BumbleBee and Yellowjacket will stay in an incubator awhile longer until they start eating their first meals. They’ll then be moved to an indoor enclosure and their progress will be monitored, Leone said.
The tortoises’ bee names come from their markings. They are Western Hermann’s tortoises, which are marked with contrasting black and yellow, much like a bee.