Kathy Vause, a senior reptile keeper, got a surprise when she went into the tortoise exhibit early Tuesday and discovered four recently hatched babies in a buried nest. A more precocious fifth hatchling was found short while later, already having ventured out into the exhibit.
Vause decided to check Tuesday to see if Alberta, the zoo’s galapagos female, recently had laid eggs. Instead of eggs, she found hatchlings ready to roll.
“She snuck them in on us,” Vause said.
These are the first successful Galapagos hatches ever at Riverbanks and the first babies from two Santa Cruz tortoise parents ever in a U.S. zoo.