A ‘big Dill!:’ Houston Zoo’s oldest tortoise ‘Mr. Pickles’ becomes father to 3 ADORABLE hatchlings

Baby Pickles (Houston Zoo)

HOUSTON – Time for a shell-ebration! One of the oldest animals at the Houston Zoo is now a dad!

The Zoo announced on Thursday that Mr. Pickles, a 90-year-old genetically valuable radiated tortoise, originally from Madagascar, is a father of three new hatchlings, named Dill, Gherkin, and Jalapeno.

According to a release, the new hatchlings came as a surprise when a herpetology keeper noticed that Mrs. Pickles was laying her eggs shortly before closing time. Animal care specialists quickly recovered the eggs as officials said the soil in Houston is not hospitable.

Mr. Pickles has been with the Zoo for 36 years and only had one previous little ‘Pickle’ with his companion, Mrs. Pickle.

The Zoo said all three hatchlings are doing well behind the scenes at the Reptile and Amphibian House until they are big enough to safely join their parents.

According to the zoo, radiated tortoises, such as Mr. Pickles, are critically endangered from pet trade overcollection and are known to produce few offspring.

Baby Pickles (Houston Zoo)
Baby Pickles (Houston Zoo)

About the Author:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 3, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.