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Baby pancake tortoise hatches at Bristol Zoo - 15/04/12

Photo by Adam DavisKeepers at Bristol Zoo have captured the moment a tiny baby pancake tortoise hatched from its shell.

The baby African pancake tortoise, born the size of a 50p coin, is one of two that hatched within weeks of each other in the Zoo’s Reptile House.

Keeper Adam Davis was on hand to photograph the moment the first tortoise pipped through its shell. He said: “It’s brilliant to witness the hatching of any reptile, and I was lucky enough to have my camera on hand to capture the moment this little female tortoise emerged into the world.”

It has been six years since Bristol Zoo hatched out any African pancake tortoises. Keepers incubated the eggs at a controlled temperature for 156 days before they hatched.

The tortoises are now being kept in a warm and humid environment to ensure smooth and proportional shell growth while they develop. They eat tiny pieces of dandelion and chicory leaves.Guests at the Zoo can see the pair on display in the breeding room of the Reptile House.

Another of Bristol Zoo tortoises, Eddie the Egyptian tortoise, is available for ‘virtual adoption’ by members of the public. For more information visit the Zoo’s website at    



Bristol Zoo Gardens

  • Bristol Zoo is open from 9am every day except Christmas Day. 
  • Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on income from visitors and supporters to continue its important work. 
  • Bristol Zoo is involved with more than 100 co-ordinated breeding programmes for threatened wildlife species. 
  • Itemploys over 150 full and part-time staff to care for the animals and run a successful visitor attraction to support its conservation and education work. 
  • Bristol Zoo supports – through finance and skill sharing - 15 projects in the UK and abroad that conserveand protectsome of the world’s most endangered species.
  • In 2011 Bristol Zoo celebrated its 175th birthday. Over that past 175 years, the Zoo has brought six generations of Bristolians closer to wildlife, helped save over 175 species from extinction, established over 30 field conservation and research programmes all over the world, showed 40 millionschool-aged children the wonder of nature and given more than 90 million visitors a wonderful day out.
  • In 2010 Bristol Zoo Gardens set up a Conservation Fund to raise vital funds to help care for threatened animals and plants – both in the Zoo and through the conservation work we do in the UK and around the world.
  • Bristol Zoo Gardens is a member of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums. BIAZA represents more than 90 member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums.