The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : The Smithsonian's National Zoo is Showing Off the Rare Spider Tortoise that Hatched in the Reptile Discovery Center

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Smithsonian's National Zoo is Showing Off the Rare Spider Tortoise that Hatched in the Reptile Discovery Center

Washington, DC - The Smithsonian's National Zoo is showing off the rare spider tortoise that hatched in the Reptile Discovery Center. The spider tortoise was born on May 10 and staff have been watching it closely since then.

The birth marks the first time a spider tortoise has hatched at the center. Zoo officials say spider tortoise eggs can be difficult to hatch in human care "in part because they must be incubated, cooled, and incubated again during the embryo's development."

The tortoise "appears to be thriving," according to zoo officials, and they hope to have it on exhibit this summer. Right now, zoo visitors can see a family group of adult male spider tortoises.

The sex of the two-week-old tortoise is unknown at this time.

Spider tortoises are listed as critically endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species, according to zoo officials. They are native to the forests and sandy coastlines of Madagascar. Their populations have "declined by 80 percent since 1970 and populations continue to dwindle due to habitat loss and wildlife trafficking for the food and pet trade," according to zoo officials.









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