Endangered Radiation Turtles, Mr. and Mrs. Pickles welcome 3 new hatchlings: Dill, Cucumber and Jalapeno at the Houston Zoo.

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Saturday, March 18, 2023 11:45 pm

A 90-year-old endangered turtle has become the oldest father at the Houston Zoo.

Houston, Texas — The oldest animal in the Houston Zoo is also its new father.

At the age of 90, an endangered radiation turtle named Mr. Pickles and his girlfriend Mrs. Pickles welcomed three new babies: Dill, Cucumber and Jalapeno.

The eggs were a surprise for the staff.

The Herpetology Curator happened upon Mrs. Pickles while she was laying her eggs before closing. The animal care team quickly retrieved the eggs and brought them to safety at the Reptile and Amphibian House.

It is considered unique because the soil in Houston is unfavorable to the natives of Madagascar and it is unlikely that the eggs would have hatched if there had not been a keeper there.

Big “Dill”

Mr. Pickles is the most genetically valuable turtle in the Zoos and Aquariums Association’s Species Survival Plan, as are three of the newest baby Pickles.

Irradiated turtles are endangered due to over-collection for the illegal pet trade and are known to produce few offspring.

Mr. Picks has been living at the Houston Zoo for 36 years, along with Mrs. Pickles, who came here in 1996.

In 1997, Pickles had a child.

New additions will remain backstage at the Reptile and Amphibian House until they are large enough to safely join their parents.

A portion of every Houston Zoo membership and entry fees will go to help zoo partners in Madagascar transplant wildlife habitats to save animals in the wild.

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