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Toronto Zoo Celebrates Hatching Of Teeny-Tiny Endangered 'Spider Tortoise'

The Toronto Zoo has recently welcomed a brand new member into its family who is both incredibly small and incredibly endangered, making for one super important new addition.

On Wednesday the zoo formally announced its first successful hatching of a Madagascar spider tortoise, a delicate species the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed as critically endangered.

The wonderful news was shared in a press release which also revealed the actual hatching took place on May 2.

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As the release explains, the zoo has been attempting to reproduce the endangered species since 2007, and this is the first time they've ever achieved a successful hatching.

The egg was originally laid last year on October 4. Once it was discovered, staff carefully incubated and monitored it, putting it through a process of warming and cooling over the next several months to create the optimal environment for the lil' tortoise inside.

Toronto Zoo CEO Dolf DeJong praised staff for all their hard work and tireless efforts resulting in this incredible birth.

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“This is a great example of the critical work done at the Toronto Zoo with our world class wildlife care team,” he said in the press release. “This is your Toronto Zoo living our mission of connecting people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction."

The adorably small spider tortoise is native to southwestern Madagascar.

Their arachnid-inspired name is a nod to the web-like patterns of yellow and black that appear across the tops of their shells and has nothing to do with leg count. (They still only have four, which is a number I am perfectly comfortable with, and absolutely no more.)

Very little is known about this species, which is believed to have an average lifespan of up to 70 years. Unfortunately, populations of these tortoises in the wild are quickly dwindling as a result of habitat alteration and collection for the pet and food trades.

h/t: Toronto Zoo, Photos: Instagram | @thetorontozoo

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