June 19, 2019

Baby Yellow Footed Tortoises Have Hatched!


The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is thrilled to welcome three new, yet familiar, heroes in a half shell to its ranks!

On May 5, 2020, eggs from our two adult yellow-footed tortoises housed in the World of Discovery hatched three new hatchlings. In addition to the parents, these young reptiles join their older brother — a current resident born at the Zoo on May 3, 2016, almost exactly four years earlier!

The yellow-footed tortoise hails from the tropical rainforests and lowlands of South America where they are known to be the largest tortoises native to the mainland of the continent — the more substantial reaching up to 32 inches long with a weight of nearly 100 pounds. The tortoises can live up to 60 years and their natural habitat provides a varied diet of grasses, leaves, fallen fruits, succulents, insects, snails, and carrion.

Yellow-footed tortoises are a favorite of reptile enthusiasts and make popular pets, but in the wild humans are the primary threat to their survival. Overhunting and habitat loss has led to their inclusion on the list of endangered species, but conservation efforts are in place to help revitalize the population. Careful establishment of reservations and national parks provides a safe haven for these and other species we aim to preserve.

These miniature tortoises will not be on exhibit until they are older, but with your support by visiting the Zoo we can continue helping species such as the yellow-footed tortoise!