Animal Diaries Archive
Mary River Turtles
29 July 2005I'm sure everyone agrees that there's nothing cuter than some of the babies within the animal kingdom! It is unfortunate, but all babies have to grow up someday and the growth patterns between different animals are rather intriguing.
As mammals ourselves, we all know that growing up relies on parental care, being kept warm, suckling on milk and developing with some amount of protection. But this is a reptile article, and when it comes to reptile babies it's all up to them from the word go.
Let's focus on two reptile species Australia Zoo has been rearing: Mary River Turtles, and Merten's Water Monitors. Both species in the wild would have to find shelter and food to survive from the second they hatch.
No parental care to aid these tough-as-nails neonates!
The Mary River Turtles hatched five months ago and have proceeded to grow immensely. After five months they have grown 8.5 times their hatching weight as compared to the Merten's Monitors growth rate after the same time period at 3.5 times their original body weight. The monitors obviously have a slower growth rate, but when it comes to how fast a reptile grows it depends on several factors:
- Amount of heat provided to the juvenile - Amount of food given, and of what nutritional content (food with less protein won't add as much to growth). - Conditions/space for the animal to grow without limitations such as disease or competition for food from their enclosure mates. - And, of course, the species of animal
Stay tuned for future stories regarding these guys as they head toward their adult years.