1. ITV Report

Rare turtle hatches at Bristol Zoo

The Vietnamese box turtle is one of the rarest in the world Photo: Bristol Zoo

One of the world’s rarest turtles has hatched at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

The tiny, six-week-old Vietnamese box turtle weighs just 14.6g and is around the size of a matchbox.

Bristol Zoo is thought to be just the second Zoo in Europe to have ever bred the species Credit: Bristol Zoo

The turtle is so precious that it is being kept off-show, in a climate-controlled quarantine room. Once old enough it will join the six adult box turtles in the custom-built Asian turtle breeding room in Bristol Zoo’s Reptile House. . It hatched after being kept at a constant temperature in an incubator for 85 days.

This is a very difficult species to breed so I am thrilled with the arrival of this baby; it comes after a lot of hard work. Little is known about this species so we can learn an awful lot from this baby to improve our chances of breeding more in the future. These are secretive animals so we are keeping it in a warm, humid and quiet room with a constant temperature, in an enclosure to replicate its natural habitat where it can burrow among the soil and leaves.

– Tim Skelton, curator of reptiles
The turtle can live up to 50 years Credit: Bristol Zoo

It is the second time the Zoo has bred this critically endangered species, which it has kept for 12 years. The Zoo’s first Vietnamese box turtle hatched in 2012 and is doing very well, thriving on a diet of snails, worms and chopped fruit.

An adult box turtle weighs around 1kg, measures around 20cm long and can live up to 50-years-old.

Box turtles are mainly terrestrial, although they will enter shallow water to hunt and soak.