Source: Daily Star UK
Date: August 12, 2008

Rare mini turtle born at zoo

By Emily Garnham for


HE MAY not teenage, mutant or ninja but this little fella needs plenty of attention.

He?s an endangered Chinese box turtle and he?s small enough to fit inside a matchbox.

This tiny creature is the latest baby to be born at Bristol Zoo?s reptile house, keepers revealed today.

At three-weeks-old he measures just four centimetres and barely balances the scales at 15 grams.

In his native land, this turtle would be hunted for meat, used in Chinese medicines or kept as a pet, so he?s probably better off under the watchful eye of a team of reptile experts.

Tim Skelton, Bristol Zoo Gardens? curator of reptiles, said: ?Chinese box turtles are considered an endangered species so we are thrilled with this new arrival. It is doing very well, eating plenty and growing stronger every day.?

He added: ?We have kept Chinese box turtles at the Zoo for three years and this is just our second hatch so it is fantastic news and will greatly help our understanding of the breeding and incubation of the more critically endangered turtles that we are trying to breed.?

Also known as a yellow-margined box turtle, this little turtle can expect to weigh around 800 grams and measure 6.5 inches when fully grown.

Chinese box turtles are sociable animals and have been observed in groups on the banks of streams in the mountains or swimming in still, shallow water.

They are omnivorous, meaning they feed both on animal and plant matter, and can live for more than 50 years.