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They're only the size of a golf ball but these new arrivals have given zoo keepers reason to celebrate

Photo: Chester zoo

Chester Zoo is celebrating the arrival of two radiated tortoises, which are critically endangered.

The “golf ball-sized” hatchlings, which are usually found in the dry forests of southern and southwestern Madagascar, are the first of their kind to be bred at the zoo for seven years.

Conservationists at the zoo have been working to hatch the tortoises after seeing at first-hand the ongoing devastation to their forest home in Madagascar.

“Hatching is hard work for a baby tortoise and it can sometimes take hours for them to battle their way out of their hard eggshell.

"They use a special egg tooth to cut the shell open from inside - it’s a bit like an in-built tin opener.

"Happily two radiated tortoises have hatched successfully and we’re ever so pleased as this is a seriously threatened species. "

– Ben Baker, Chester Zoo