This turtle is unique in the world. For the first time, an albino Galapagos giant tortoise was born in a zoo. In nature, the animal would probably have little chance of survival.
An albino Galapagos tortoise was born in Switzerland for the first time. It is a special event in two respects. On the one hand, the baby turtle is the first known albino specimen of its kind. On the other hand, the reproductive success is remarkable in itself.
Because of their size, Galapagos giant tortoises, which can weigh up to 200 kilograms when fully grown, have difficulty mating. The success rate is about two percent. So far, only three zoos worldwide, including two in Switzerland, have managed to breed these animals.
Giant tortoise in danger of extinction
The giant tortoises, which can live up to 200 years, are an endangered species. An estimated 23,000 of them still live on the Ecuadorian Galapagos Islands. In principle, the genetic pigment disorder albinism can also occur in turtles. However, an albino Galapagos giant tortoise had never been found.
The albino turtle was presented to the public for the first time on Friday. A group of schoolchildren were able to admire the small, approximately one-month-old reptile with white skin and red eyes in a zoo in Servion, Switzerland. Philippe Morel, owner of the Servion Tropiquarium, estimates that the life expectancy of an albino turtle in the wild would be very short, as the white skin would attract predators. In his zoo, however, she can grow up normally, he believes.
“She’s even more active than the others,” said Morel’s son Thomas, who looks after the animals in the tropiquarium. The albino baby hatched on May 1 after lying in an incubator for two months, with a second baby – who has the usual black coloring – four days later. They weigh about 50 grams at birth and can still fit in the palm of your hand. The sex of the reptiles cannot yet be determined.