15. Feb, 2017

Housing of the ReHerp animals


In the last couple of weeks we made substantial progress in optimizing the housing of the ReHerp animals at the SERPO Zoo in Rijswijk. The separation of the room into two parts was finalized thanks to the highly acknowledged help of the Serpo personal. It is now much easier to maintain a warmer climate for the Egyptian Tortoises (Testudo kleinmanii) on one hand and a cooler climate for the Chinese Crocodile Lizards (Shinisaurus crocodilurus) and  the Vietnamese Pond Turtle (Mauremys annamensis) on the other. The latter two species are currently more or less in a state of hibernation albeit at the final stage of that period, requiring not too much attention at the moment. We will start optimizing their housings soon so that summer activity can start.

Till now much effort was spent on the housing of the Egyptian Tortoises. At present 48 animals are in the ReHerp collection separated into 5 groups based on their origin. With the exception of three pairs and three males all animals are juveniles ranging from one till three years of age. After an observation period of a couple of weeks in which the juveniles were housed individually the animals are now allowed to roam in larger enclosures in groups of 3 till 5 animals not mixing the originally assigned groups. Doing so the animals individually have a larger space available and have more opportunity to select the temperature and humidity they require. Each terrarium now contains light, heating as well as UV radiation facilities that can be adjusted much easier than in the previous situation of individual housing in small enclosures. Judged by their activity as well as their eating pattern the animals appreciate the new situation.

The three adult couples are being housed pairwise in larger housings from the beginning. The couples have been living together already for a longer period of time. Being adults we are anticipating the possibility of eggs to be laid in the period to come. We placed trays containing loose mixtures of earth, sand and clay in the housing and keep it moist. In addition the females are being weighed frequently and their (digging) behaviour is observed carefully.

It would be great if we could make use of our newly acquired incubator soon.