The Tropiquarium in Switzerland, a public zoo, has revealed a rare albino Galápagos giant tortoise. It’s one of two Galápagos giant tortoises born at the zoo last month.
Well, “giant” is a bit of an exaggeration at the moment. That’s the breed, you see, but we’re happy to report that the turtle is, in fact, quite smol.
Albinism isn’t particularly common in nature. The zoo said that in turtles, a case occurs approximately once in 100,000 individuals. In humans, a case occurs once in 20,000 individuals. The albino turtle’s sibling was born black like its parents.
“This phenomenon had never before been observed either in zoos or in the wild,” the zoo said in a press release (we’ve translated from French to English using the Chrome translator. Let us know if we’ve made a mistake).
“These turtles, belonging to an endangered species, were born as part of a species conservation program.
“These are rare and exceptional births, especially for the albino baby. This is the first time in the world that an albino Galápagos tortoise has been born and kept in captivity.”
Galápagos turtles only have a mating success rate of about two-to-three per cent. Back on February 11, the mother laid five eggs, with the albino tortoise hatching on May 1. Its sibling hatched on May 5 after spending two-and-a-half months in an incubator.
National Geographic says that the Galápagos giant tortoise is a vulnerable species, and that there are only about 15,000 in the wild. The Galápagos archipelago, which is located off the coast of Ecuador, was once home to at least 250,000 Galápagos tortoises.
The gender hasn’t been determined for the albino tortoise, nor for its sibling. Names haven’t been picked out yet, either.
We love to see a wonder of nature occurring in a vulnerable species. Go you funky lil’ tortoise.