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Rare Indian turtles hatch in US zoo after 20 years

California's San Diego Zoo celebrated the arrival of 41 small Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle hatchlings after 20 years (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@sandiegozoo)

It was time for celebration at San Diego Zoo in California, US as after 20 years rare and endangered turtle species hatched there.

The officials this week made this grand announcement about the arrival of 41 small Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle hatchlings. The San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance have been consistently monitoring three adults of this species for the last 20 years to note signs of breeding.


Also known as small-headed softshell turtles these are large species native to the Indian subcontinent and they feed on fish, frogs, crustaceans and molluscs which they ambush. These turtles are found at the bottom of deep rivers and streams in northern India, Bangladesh and Nepal.

In their release the Zoo said: “This is an extremely prolonged process as the turtles can take close to 10 years to even reach sexual maturity.”

What makes the whole process tough is that these animals lay their eggs at night and cover them with dirt, thus locating them becomes challenging.

This summer two nests were found which contained 41 eggs all of which survived.

This bestows a special recognition on the Alliance as it becomes the first accredited conservation organization in North America to hatch these endangered species.

Kim Gray, Zoo curator commenting on this said: “This is a thrilling moment for us at the San Diego Zoo, and an incredible step forward in the conservation of this species.”