The first baby animal born at Prague Zoo in 2016 was a Tunisian spur-thighed tortoise
“In the morning on New Year’s Day we just couldn’t wait to open the reptile incubator. We
had a premonition – a correct one, as it turned out – that we would find the new year’s
first new arrival: a hatchling of the Tunisian spur-thighed tortoise. To tell the truth, it was
not so hard to predict: the year’s first baby had already been preceded by three of its
siblings, which had been hatching, one after the other, since December 27. But the last
remaining egg had been taking its sweet time. On December 30, the little tortoise had
used its egg tooth to hew a little window onto the world and had started breathing air and
drawing its yolk reserves into its belly. However, it was not to venture out of the safety of
the eggshell until the morning of January 1st. The tortoise hatchling come from a clutch of 4 eggs laid on October 17. It is 34 mm long and weighs 11.5 g,” says reptile curator Petr
Velenský.

On the first day of 2016, our trio of Tunisian spur-thighed tortoise hatchlings  welcomed a new sibling.  Photo: Petr Velenský, Prague Zoo
On the first day of 2016, our trio of Tunisian spur-thighed tortoise hatchlings welcomed a new sibling. Photo: Petr Velenský, Prague Zoo
The Tunisian spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca nabeulensis) is a small North African subspecies of the wide-ranging spur-thighed tortoise (also known as the Greek tortoise).
It is home to Tunisia’s Mediterranean coast and the adjacent regions in Algeria and Libya.
The greatest threat it faces is the destruction of its natural habitat. The Tunisian subspecies is, moreover, very delicate, and keeping it in human care is a difficult proposition that a nonprofessional will find impossible to handle.
Zoo goers can see this species at the Africa Up Close exhibit. The older juveniles inhabit a terrarium at the Pavilion of Big Tortoises.
The first baby animal born at Prague Zoo in 2016 belongs to the endangered  Tunisian spur-thighed tortoise species. Photo: Petr Velenský, Prague Zoo
The first baby animal born at Prague Zoo in 2016 belongs to the endangered Tunisian spur-thighed tortoise species. Photo: Petr Velenský, Prague Zoo
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