Endangered radiated tortoises, Mr. and Mrs. Pickles welcome 3 new babies: Dill, Gherkin, and Jalapeno at Houston Zoo

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Saturday, March 18, 2023 11:45 p.m

The 90-year-old endangered tortoise becomes the oldest father at the Houston Zoo

Houston, Texas– The oldest animal at the Houston Zoo is also its newest father.

At the age of 90, an endangered radiated tortoise named Mr. Pickles and his mate Mrs. Pickles welcomed three new little ones: Dill, Gherkin and Jalapeño.

The eggs were a surprise for the staff.

A herpetologist accidentally stumbled across Mrs. Pickles as she was laying her eggs after work. The animal care team quickly recovered the eggs and brought them to safety in the reptile and amphibian house.

It is considered unique because the Houston soil is not hospitable to the native people of Madagascar and it is unlikely that the eggs would have hatched had the keeper not happened to be there.

The big “dill”

Mr. Pickles is the most genetically valuable turtle in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, as are the newest three little Pickles.

Radiated tortoises are critically endangered due to over-collection for the illegal pet trade and have been known to produce few offspring.

Mr. Pickes has lived at the Houston Zoo for 36 years along with Mrs. Pickles, who came here in 1996.

In 1997, the Pickles welcomed a little one.

The new arrivals stay behind the scenes in the reptile and amphibian house until they are big enough to safely go to their parents.

A portion of each Houston Zoo membership and admission ticket is used to help the zoo’s partners in Madagascar replant wildlife habitats to save animals in the wild.

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https://6abc.com/tortoises-mr-pickles-mrs-endangered-species-at-the-houston-zoo/12964925/ Endangered radiated tortoises, Mr. and Mrs. Pickles welcome 3 new babies: Dill, Gherkin, and Jalapeno at Houston Zoo

Alley Einstein

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