For the first time since 2003, tiny Red-footed Tortoises have been born at Cotswold Wildlife Park.

These newcomers came as quite a surprise, as reptile keepers at the park had no idea that any of their Red-footed Tortoises (Geochelone Carbonaria) had laid eggs.

In fact the parents had recently been moved from the park as part of a breeding programme. In the wild the Red-footed Tortoise instinctively bury their eggs to protect them from predators and then abandon them.

It usually takes around 5 months for the eggs to hatch, and the hatchlings are entirely independent from the moment they’re born.

The baby tortoises are now on show to the public, in a newly refurbished Reptile House. Each hatchling is currently about 2 inches in length, but will grow to approximately 15 inches and can live up to 50 years.

Curator at Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, said, ‘The baby tortoises were quite a surprise for the Reptile Team. However, all the youngsters are doing very well and are completely unaware of the drama of their arrival.’

To find out more information on the Park, as well as the Red-footed Tortoise, visit www.cotswoldwildlifepark.co.uk.

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