Four Rare Galápagos Tortoises Hatch At Auckland Zoo.

Four tiny Galápagos tortoises have hatched at Auckland Zoo to parents Chippie and Smiley.

The babies have been hatched in a climate-controlled incubator in Auckland Zoo in January.

The babies were a cluster of 13 eggs that Chippie laid in October last year.

The Zoo incubated the eggs at 30 degrees celsius – which is a temperature likely to produce females in the wild.

After hatching, the four babies were moved to a miniature habitat that was off the display to the public eye.

Auckland Zoo’s Ectotherms team leader, Don McFarlane, said the hatchlings are in “excellent health”.

“We’ve provided varying terrain for climbing, fresh grassy bed areas that we spray with tepid water every afternoon and which they love to tuck themselves into to feel safe at night, and an outdoor area for a time in the sunshine to gain additional vitamin D3 to aid calcium uptake from their diet,” Don Mcfarlane said.

“Like kids, they do tend to gravitate to colourful sweet foods like bright hibiscus flowers and grated carrot. The latter, surprisingly high in sugar, is a rare treat for them that we mix in with their hay to stimulate their appetite.”

The heaviest baby weighs 88 grams.

The tiny babies have a diet of chopped hay, leaves and flowers.

As well as this, they are also given two hour long baths a week in tepid water to help their hydration.

Galápagos tortoises are the world’s largest tortoise, with Males reaching 250kg and females reaching 150kg. They also reach their sexual maturity between the ages of 20-40.

The oldest Galápagos tortoise is 188-year-old Jonathan, from Seychelles.

Richard Gibson, head of animal care and conservation at the Zoo, said Galápagos tortoises have a “tragic history” of habitat loss and over-exploitation for food.

Auckland Zoo works hard with the Galápagos Conservancy and the Charles Darwin Foundation to protect the tortoises classified as ‘threatened.

The four new babies will remain off display for now but are expected to join their parents in the Galápagos tortoise house in a few months.

Written by Hannah Conway