By Shannon Lane @Shannonroselane
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The wood turtle hatchlings were born in July 2016 at the Garden State Tortoise LLC, New Jersey. The private, conservation facility is dedicated to the propagation of the world’s turtle and tortoise species.
The centre’s owner, Chris Leone, captured the creation of new life, from the mating adults, to the youngsters emerging from their eggs.
He said: “The North American wood turtle is endangered in almost every state it occurs in here in the USA. Their numbers have decreased dramatically over the years and continue to drop.
“Habitat loss, road mortality and illegal collection for the pet trade have all had devastating effects on wild wood turtle populations.
“By breeding them successfully at facilities such as ours, we hope to provide truly captive born youngsters to help reduce the taking of wild turtles.”
Once the mother had laid her ten eggs in the soil, the team placed them in artificial incubation for safety.
After 47 days the youngsters began hatching, a process which takes between 24 to 36 hours.
The tiny turtles emerge from the eggs with a white nib at the tip of their nose; the egg tooth. This is to enable the babies to make the first break for freedom out of the shell.
Chris advised that only serious enthusiasts should consider keeping a pet turtle or tortoise.
He said: "Turtles and tortoises are extremely long lived creatures and one must be 100% dedicated to providing for them for many, many decades.”
The team at Garden State Tortoise have plenty of plans for a brighter future for the North American Wood Turtle.
Chris said: “We are involved in genetic research with this species and hope to aid law enforcement with cases concerning the illegal poaching of them in the future.
“We’re also becoming part of a head starting program where we can provide juvenile turtles for release into nature once again.”