Toggle Menu
  1. Home/
  2. Entertainment/
  3. Viral Stories/

An endangered spiny hill turtle, born for first time at ZSL London Zoo. The cracking moment from the shell was captured by zookeepers on camera – VIDEO

ZSL London Zoo was the host of a unique moment last Monday (15 May), when was born for the first time an endangered spiny hill turtle. The tiny turtle, the first ever of its kind to hatch at ZSL London Zoo, was born just in time for World Turtle Day, May 23.

The unusual endangered turtle hatched from its egg after its 136 day incubation period. After watching closely its incubation, zookeepers managed to capture on a time lapse camera the cracking moment when the spiny hill turtle emerged from its shell.

The turtle gets its name from its unusual spiny shell spikes, which are used to deter predators and provide camouflage among their forest floor homes.


“The reptile team have spent four years carefully researching this fascinating turtle species so we’re very excited to have our first ever hatch at ZSL London Zoo – just in time for World Turtle Day,” ZSL keeper Francesca Servini said.

“The hatchling used its special egg-tooth to break the shell’s surface early in the morning, and it took 36 hours to completely push its way out. The egg-tooth, which is a tiny sharp white bump on the turtle’s head, will soon fall off now its job is done.”

The tiny turtle weighed 33g at birth and measured just 61mm, but it will eventually grow to approximately 27cm in size.

This species of turtle is assessed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

“It has been estimated that more than ten million turtles are being traded for food, traditional medicine and the pet trade each year in Asia, where this turtle originates. The husbandry research being carried out here at ZSL London Zoo is becoming increasingly important in guaranteeing the existence of these animals for the future,” Francesca Servini added.

Madeline Gorthon