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12 April 2011, 06:00
A tortoise the size of a grape is enjoying life in the slow lane after becoming the newest, and smallest, addition to a zoo in Bedfordshire.
Tiny Tim, an Egyptian tortoise, tipped the scales at just 6g when he hatched a month ago. Today he is just 5cm long, but is expected to grow to 500g over the next ten years.
The hatchling is part of a small litter of tortoises who were saved from the illegal pet trade after being seized by HM Customs and Excise last year.
Tiny Tim and his five pocket-sized siblings have found a home at Whipsnade Zoo, where they can be seen taking slow jaunts around their specially designed miniature home.
Zoo keeper Trevor Moxey, who looks after them at the zoo's Discovery Centre, said: "Tim is one of our smallest, new additions this spring at Whipsnade. We're very glad to offer him a safe home and he can stay here for the foreseeable future.
"He is part of an important breeding programme.''
The tortoise breeding programme is part of a Europe-wide initiative to help increase the numbers of the critically endangered Egyptian tortoises.