On March 10, Cango Wildlife Ranch, Oudtshoorn South Africa, four endangered Radiated Tortoise hatchlings took their first breath of fresh air. Their determined mom celebrates her 78th birthday this year, and their dad is her toy boy at 33!
The animal care team celebrated their birth for two full weeks, when with pure delight, on March 24 another baby tortoise made its surprise appearance.
Mom tortoise had dug two specially excavated holes which incubated four little conservation heroes. In both burrows, she laid two clutches consisting of six eggs in total, and a magical four survived their life’s first great challenge. The incubation period for this species is quite long and can take up to nine months – but is more than worth the wait! A very excited Neal Martin, the ranch’s reptile curator, has been nurturing them at the Animal Care Centre. The tortoise babies’ living quarters are kept at a toasty 25 – 28 °C, and also includes a cozy 40 °C heat-pad for ‘cuddle time’.
Their teeny-tiny meals include fresh baby marrows, green beans, rocket, hibiscus flowers, cucumber and spekboom leaves. The happy family continues to thrive in the safe sanctuary at Cango Wildlife Ranch.