Three critically endangered big-headed turtles hatch at London Zoo

Three critically endangered big-headed turtles hatched at London Zoo in what is described as a miracle for the endangered turtles.

Just a few years ago their parents were in the hands of smugglers who tried to sneak them into Canada.

They have then settled well into their new home at London Zoo (UK). The parents turtles (two males and two females), were slowly introduced to each other. Three years later, they finally mated and the new babies are the result.

They are threatened by hunting for their meat and the international pet trade and are classified as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species.

Big-headed turtles’ heads are so big that they can’t retreat them into their shells. 

They have armor plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators.

“They represent a vitally important and unique branch of the evolutionary tree and have much to teach us about animal adaptions”

“There is literally no other species like them on Earth.”

Zoological Society of London (ZSL) reptile keeper Kimberley Carter said: ‘We had the expertise at ZSL London Zoo to give this solitary species the specialist care they individually needed, and we’re pleased that this dedicated work has paid off with these three hatchlings.’ 

Written by Bari Holland