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Zoo celebrates World Turtle Day with a very special arrival

The moment the endangered spiny hill turtle hatched was captured on camera by staff at ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo celebrated World Turtle Day on Tuesday (May 23) in style after an endangered species hatched at the zoo for the first time.

The spiny hill turtle came out of its shell on May 15, weighing a tiny 33g at birth and measuring just 61mm, following a 136 day incubation period.

The moment was captured by zookeepers on a time lapse camera.

The first spiny hill turtle to hatch at ZSL London Zoo(Image: ZSL London Zoo)

ZSL keeper Francesca Servini said: “The reptile team have spent four years carefully researching this fascinating turtle species so we’re very excited to have our first ever hatch at ZSL London Zoo – just in time for World Turtle Day."

The unusual spiny shell spikes that give the turtles their name are used to deter predators and provide camouflage among their forest floor homes.

The turtle, which is assessed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List, will grow to approximately 27cm in size.

The little reptile made an appearance just before World Turtle Day(Image: ZSL London Zoo)

The zoo said: “It has been estimated that more than ten million turtles are being traded for food, traditional medicine and the pet trade each year in Asia, where this turtle originates.

“The husbandry research being carried out here at ZSL London Zoo is becoming increasingly important in guaranteeing the existence of these animals for the future.”

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