Houston, TX

Houston Hoo successfully hatch four painted terrapins

Jason Martinez

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HOUSTON, TX — The Houston Zoo welcomed four painted terrapins that have been successfully hatched for the past week. This was done due to the collaboration between the departments of primate, water quality, veterinary, and herpetology.

Before the hatching, primate keepers and veterinarians kept an eye on adult painted terrapins in the orangutan trench while herpetology keepers monitored the incubation process. The water quality team carefully maintained the water temperature throughout the year which enabled the turtles to breed. This is the first time the Zoo has hatched painted terrapin turtles.

Since they are unable to remove salt from their bodies, these reptiles are only capable of living in freshwater or brackish water with low salinity. Their gray/brown coloration matches their marshy environment, providing protection all year round.

This medium to the large-sized turtle that inhabits rivers in Southeast Asia is one of the 25 most endangered turtle species in the world. Painted terrapins are hunted in the wild and their eggs and meat are sold for human consumption. Pollution and habitat destruction are also some of the reasons why they are endangered.

In order to save painted terrapins in the wild, the Houston Zoo also supports Indonesians in Sumatra to protect these turtles. The zoo also assists Indonesian conservation experts who safeguard wild painted terrapins and their nests, as well as restore their habitats. Last year, the Houston Zoo supported more than 550 painted terrapins eggs in 33 nests in Indonesia.

At the Zoo, visitors can see adult terrapins at Wortham World of Primates, in the water and on the shore, near the orangutan moat. By visiting the Houston Zoo, people can contribute to saving this species.

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