We're ashamed to admit World Turtle Day passed us by somewhat, but this little guy most definitely caught our collective eye.
Looking somewhat startled to have a camera thrust into his face just moments after being born, the critter is in fact one of a batch of yellow-spotted Amazon River turtles born recently at New York’s Rosamond Gifford Zoo.
A post on the zoo’s “Zooborns” page said: “The hatching of these once-endangered species is exciting for us, as many of them will enhance the exhibits at other accredited zoos around the country."
Zoo director Ted Fox added: “Captive breeding programs are often critical in the survival of a species, and this is a success story we are proud to tell.”
These little chaps are set to grow into strapping young lads, with some yellow-spotted Amazon River turtles reaching up to 45cm long.
Females lay two clutches of between four and 35 eggs a year. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the species (podocnemis unifilis) is listed as vulnerable.
World Turtle Day occurs on May 23 and is sponsored by American Tortoise Rescue.
The day was created to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.
Since 1990, American Tortoise Rescue has safely rehomed around 3,000 tortoises and turtles.
Founder Susan Tellem said: “World Turtle Day was started 12 years ago to increase respect and knowledge for the world’s oldest creatures. These gentle animals have been around for about 200 million years, yet they are rapidly disappearing as a result of the exotic food industry, habitat destruction and the cruel pet trade.
“We are seeing smaller turtles coming into the rescue meaning that older adults are disappearing from the wild, and the breeding stock is drastically reduced. It is a very sad time for turtles and tortoises of the world.”
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