A critically endangered species of turtle has produced one hatchling at the Chattanooga Zoo this month, according to a news release.
The Roti Island snake-necked turtle hatchling started emerging from the egg on Nov. 3 and completed the process by Nov. 6. This is the first successful hatching of the species to take place at the Zoo.
Experienced mother, Nessie, and the hatchling are doing great. Three healthy eggs are expected to produce more hatchlings soon, the release states.
Kate Gore, keeper three of herpetology at the Zoo, says the group is proud of the successful hatching.
"Since these turtles are critically endangered, we are pleased to contribute to raising the population through this hatching," Gore said in the release.
The Zoo received Nessie from the Columbus Zoo in Columbus, Ohio through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) in June 2019. While she was at the Columbus Zoo, Nessie was placed with a male for breeding and later laid a clutch of eggs at the Chattanooga Zoo in August.
Roti Island snake-necked turtles are listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) Red List with only two known populations surviving in the wild. The species is threatened mostly due to being heavily targeted in the pet trade and having a limited habitat. They are indigenous to the small island of Rote in Indonesia and are known for their strikingly long necks, according to the release.
The Roti Island snake-necked turtle will not be placed in the Zoo's public viewing habitat at this time.