Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Monday, 11 August 2008 15:37 UK

Endangered turtle born at zoo

Box Turtle
The turtle is smaller than a matchbox

Bristol Zoo has been celebrating the birth of an endangered turtle.

The Chinese box turtle, also known as a yellow-margined box turtle, weighed 15g (0.53oz) and measured 4cm (1.6in) long, when it hatched.

The turtle, which is smaller than a matchbox, will live in the reptile house with 14 adult box turtles.

Tim Skelton, Bristol Zoo Gardens' spokesman, said the new arrival was doing well, "eating plenty and growing stronger every day".

Mr Skelton said the hatch would develop an "understanding of breeding and incubation" of the endangered turtles.

Nine species of box turtle are listed by the International Union for Endangered Species (IUCN), with Chinese box turtles listed on the IUCN red list, which means its population levels have been described as "critical".

The Chinese box turtles are hunted for their meat, used in medicine or kept as pets.

An adult box turtle can live up to 50 years of age, weigh 800g (28.2oz) and measure 16cm (6.5in) long.


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