New Additions to Berkshire Eco-Centre

A couple of Home’s Hingeback Tortoise hatchlings have been born at The Living Rainforest eco-centre in Hampstead Norreys, West Berkshire

They are part of a unique group of tortoises that can close themselves entirely within their shells when attacked.

They are only 5cm long, and are too young to be on display at the moment.

Records indicate that only five of these tortoise babies have hatched in the UK over the last five years, while only three births are listed on an international database covering 825 zoos in 76 countries over the last year.

 Home's Hingeback Tortoise

About the Home's Hingeback tortoise:

  • Native to West Africa
  • 90% of its natural habitat of moist lowland forests and swamps has disappeared over the last 40 years. It is also harvested intensively for food, traditional medicines and the international pet trade.
  • The tortoise is especially vulnerable during the dry season, when swamps dry out and humans can access more of the forest.
  • The species is now classified as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of endangered species. Two other African hingeback species are also endangered.
  • The tortoises are omnivous, eating both meat and vegetation.
  • Their mature shells slope gently downward from their high, hinged backs, which helps to channel rainwater to the head for drinking.