Norwalk’s Maritime Aquarium has officially announced the arrival of a newly hatched reptile barely the size of a quarter: a leopard tortoise.
The hatching, which occurred Sunday, Jan. 6, marks the first of its kind to occur at the aquarium.
Six leopard tortoises were added in a new display last summer, and the egg was the result of a pairing from this exhibit.
“We are extremely proud of our biologists for broadening their range of animal-husbandry expertise,” said Barrett L. Christie, director of Animal Husbandry, in a press release. “Our herpetofauna team, led by Senior Aquarist Sarah Penfold, has done an excellent job ensuring that these animals thrive.”
Native to the semi-arid savanna’s of central and Southern Africa, the leopard tortoise is recognized for its distinctive black and yellow carapace pattern with a high dome.
While the teeny tiny tortoise weighed in at just 10 grams after birth, biologists anticipate a rapid growth rate for the hatchling. Leopard tortoises weigh an average of 40 pounds at full size, and they are considered to be the fourth-largest tortoise species.
However, visitors won’t be able to meet the hatchling just yet. Christie stated that the tortoise needs to grow to become bigger in size and more “robust” before it can be seen by the public.
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