Zoo tortoises' speed lessons

An extension area to the giant tortoise exhibit at Twycross Zoo in Leicestershire has prompted keepers to develop a new training programme to help bring these slow moving creatures indoors.

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Twycross Zoo explains tortoise training regime

We began the training roughly six months ahead of the extension area being completed, using a target and the tortoises’ favourite foods. We held the target a few centimetres in front of them and when they touched it with their nose we gave a verbal bridge ‘good’ and fed them a piece of food; we then moved the target further away and repeated the process which encouraged them to move along at a steady pace. As the behaviour got stronger we gradually increased the distance between them and the target.

– Kris Hern, Twycross Zoo animal training manager

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