Seychelles giant tortoises

The first Seychelles giant tortoise hatchlings

Seychelles Giant Tortoise Conservation Project

Patron: Sir David Attenborough

November 2002

For several years the female tortoises produced infertile eggs. In November 2002 eggs laid by the young Dipsochelys hololissa female Josephine started to hatch. The first two hatchings (the produce of a mating between the young Josephine and the ancient Adam) are the first recorded captive hatchlings of a Seychelles tortoise (Dipsochelys hololissa) and the fist hatching since Josephine herself in 1986.

The first hatchling was named Gerry after Gerald Durrell at the request of Dick and Sharon Mooney who adopted a tortoise two years ago and have been waiting patiently for news of hatchlings. The second tortoise has been named David after our Patron.

These hatchlings were enough to make 2002 a year to remember but the surprises continued with an Arnold's tortoise (D. arnoldi) egg hatching in December. Two more eggs in that clutch hatched, giving us an unexpected five baby tortoises. The eggs were the very first clutch laid by Betty, the smallest of the starved tortoises rescued from the Bougainville hotel. We never thought Betty had a serious chance of breeding with such an awful history. We are not completely certain of the paternity of these eggs; two successful matings were recorded with Christopher and Hector, so far they appear to take after Hector. We are delighted with these tiny additions to the project which already show remarkable species differences. The Seychelles giant tortoises are dark and broad, whilst the Arnold's are much narrower, taller and a light brown colour.

More pictures of the tortoise hatchlings

Seychelles biodiversity

Phelsuma journal


Justin Gerlach by e-mail