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Rare turtle hatches at Tenn. aquarium

2 hours, 51 minutes ago

The newest addition to the Tennessee Aquarium is a recently hatched rare turtle of an endangered species displayed in only a few places in North America.

A rare Beal’s four-eyed turtle, named for two white spots on the back of its head that look like another pair of eyes, hatched from a clutch of three eggs, aquarium officials announced Friday.

“This little turtle in Chattanooga may represent the first successful reproduction of Sacalia bealei in a North American institution,” aquarium herpetologist Enrico Walder said.

The baby turtle weighed only 6 grams and was 38 millimeters long when it hatched June 9.

There are only 18 known Beal’s four-eyed turtles in the United States and Europe. The Dallas Zoo and the Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero, Calif., are the other two places in the U.S. with the turtles, aquarium officials said.

The turtles were once common in southern China, and researchers believe their numbers will not grow large again because of their low reproductive rates.

“As with many Asian species the Beal’s four-eyed turtle has been over collected for use in the Chinese food and traditional medicine trade,” Walder said.

A male Beal’s four-eyed turtle is currently on display at the aquarium, but the baby will not be exhibited until it is older.

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On the Net:

Tennessee Aquarium: http://www.tnaqua.org


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