Painted Terrapin Turtle Babies

Baby Turtles Hatched At Houston Zoo     Original image courtesy of Houston Zoo

The hatching of baby turtles at the Houston Zoo is yet another exciting news for all animal lovers and parents who wish to acquaint their kids with various animal species. This is for the first time that four painted terrapin turtles have been hatched at the Houston Zoo. Here’s a short report.

Houston Zoo Baby Turtles – A Collaborative Success

Baby Terrapin Turtles

Painted Terrapin Turtle Baby at Houston Zoo        Original Image Courtesy of Houston Zoo

This first-time hatching is the result of the collaborative effort between various departments that include water quality, primate, veterinary, and herpetology. The primate keepers and veterinarians closely watched the painted terrapin adults in the orangutan moat. On the other hand, herpetology monitored the incubation process. This year-round, careful maintenance of the water temperature by the water quality team enabled reproduction.

About the Terrapin Turtles

Painted River Terrapin Turtle

Painted River Terrapin Turtle Image courtesy of Smithsonian National Zoo

Painted terrapins are medium-sized to large turtle species that inhabit the rivers in Southeast Asia. The turtles can only survive in freshwater, or brackish water with low salinity, as they cannot excrete salt from their bodies. Their grey/ brown color matches their swampy surroundings for protection for most of the year.

The males turn pretty colorful, and their shells lighten to show bold markings during the breeding season. Additionally, their grey heads turn white with a bright red stripe between their eyes, giving them a painted look. Their upturned snout simplifies feeding for them on vegetation that floats on the water surface.

Threats to the Painted Terrapins in their Habitat

The painted terrapins are among the 25 most endangered turtle species in the world. In the wild, their eggs and meat are hunted and sold for human consumption. Additionally, increasing pollution and habitat destruction form another set of threats for the terrapins. The Houston Zoo saves this species in the wild by facilitating support for local Malaysians to protect the turtles, their nests and replant and restore their habitat.

2020 was a remarkable year for the Houston Zoo in terms of protecting painted terrapins. It protected more than 550 of its eggs in 33 nests in Sumatra. You can support the species by visiting the zoo.

About Houston Zoo

The Houston Zoo is a zoological park situated within Hermann Park in Houston. The zoo is home to over 6,000 animals from 900 species and receives millions of visitors every year. To know more about Houston Zoo, click here.


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