Coast Box turtle Terrapene carolina major
Burmese Black Tortoise Manouria emys phayrei
Zoopark keeps several species of tortoises. Perhaps the most dramatic
are the giant tortoises from Aldabra an island in the Indian ocean.
Tortoise and turtle shells are actually formed of horny plates
covering an inner layer of bony plates which incorporate the animal's
ribs and are connected to the backbone.
Tortoises, though seemingly so slow-moving and unfeeling, are
quite capable of forming attachments to people as well as other
tortoises and, as D.H. Lawrence recorded in several poems, they
become positively noisy in the breeding season.
Tortoises have changed relatively little in millions of years,
but today they are in many cases threatened by man; breeding certain
species in captivity is one way in which zoos can contribute to
All young tortoises must be carefully treated and fed
if they are to develop properly. Over feeding creates a body too
big for the shell. Too little calcium creates a stunted, sometimes
flattened shell; too much protein and the shell becomes lumpy.
So you can get some indication that rearing tortoises is not easy,
and the good condition of our tortoises are indicative of the
knowledge and expertise of our keepers.
Way back in August 1850, two Scottish newspapers, the Glasgow
Herald and the Scotsman, reported that a tortoise recently imported
into Liverpool from the Mediterranean had laid a couple of eggs.
This must have been considered very remarkable at the time for
the press over 300 km from Liverpool to take an interest.
Can anyone provide earlier instances of tortoises laying eggs