Column "School of Young Zoo Correspondent"

Young naturalists of Mykolaiv Zoo help to look after tortoises in the summer enclosure. Children bathe them, feed them, collect various delicacies (dandelion, hibiscus, mulberry, acacia), help clean the small pool. Many species live in this enclosure: Central Asian tortoise, radiated tortoise, Hermann's tortoise, yellow-footed tortoise. Some of these species reproduce. Tortoises lay eggs in the sand, but workers take the eggs to the incubator, because if it is cold, the eggs will die.

In our zoo lives an amazing African spurred tortoise named Marcus. Now this tortoise is the largest in the zoo. His shell is 47 cm long and 30 cm wide. At the age of 9 he weighs 24 kg, although the individuals of this species can weigh 100 kg, and their life span is about 100 years. Marcus's diet is completely plant-based, sometimes young naturalists delight him with hibiscus flowers, fresh grass, dandelion greens. But this male sometimes takes live food from other tortoises.

Currently Marcus is located in the summer enclosure for tortoises next to the Aquaterrarium building, near the place for pony riding.

The African spurred tortoise is the largest of the African tortoises and the third largest in size in the world after the Galápagos tortoise and Aldabra giant tortoise. The length of its shell is more than 70 cm, sometimes can exceed 100 cm. It got its name for the large thigh spurs, 2-3 spurs that are on each hind paw. The color of the African spurred tortoise is monochromatic, brownish-yellow.  

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(Creative work of the young naturalists of Mykolaiv Zoo: Kovalenko Mykyta, Erinchak Yeva and Erinchak Ulyana. Photo by the authors.)