Sharleen Khan (left) / Clarence Rambharat (right) - Facebook
On June 5th, 2020, zoological officers at the Emperor Valley Zoo and other folks around the world celebrated 18 new babies that successfully hatched.
The 114-year-old South American river turtle laid her eggs in the sand on April 2020 at the Emperor Valley Zoo in Spain. She typically laid them in her pond water where they were not able to properly incubate, so the zoo was very happy to see her bury her eggs. It was the first time she laid eggs on land since 1992.
Zoological officers suspect the reason she finally laid them on land instead of in the water was because the zoo is temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown. With fewer visitors walking around and cars driving by making noise, it appears she felt comfortable with laying the eggs.
Minister of Agriculture, Land and Fisheries, Clarence Rambharat saying,“The Zoo felt this was due to the closure of the facility in mid-March and the comfort the turtle may have felt in venturing out of the pond and onto the sandy area to deposit the eggs.”
Sharlene Khan, a zoological officer said that the turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtle species in the world and was brought to the zoo in 1952. They are highly aquatic, weigh up to 200 pounds, and have shells that grow longer than 30 inches across. They are also listed as endangered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Hear more about the turtle below.