A big dill: 90-year old tortoise Mr. Pickles has babies after radiation treatment

by ian

The oldest animal at the Houston Zoo became a first-time father of three.

On March 16, the zoo announced that a 90-year-old tortoise by the name of Mr. Pickles, alongside his companion Mrs. Pickles, saw three of their eggs hatch.

The hatchlings have been aptly named Dill, Gherkin, and Jalapeno. They will be cared for behind the scenes until they are big enough to join their parents.

Now this isn’t just a big deal because of his age, but also because of his species. Hailing from Madagascar, radiated tortoises are critically endangered from over-collection in the illegal pet trade.

Given the difference in soil between Madagascar and Texas, any eggs would have difficulty hatching. But thankfully, one zoo keeper caught Mrs. Pickles in the act of laying the eggs and immediately began caring for them.