The Australian Reptile Park has announced the arrival of its newest, tiniest resident – ‘Tiny Tim’ the tortoise! At just 42 grams and 5.4cm long, the three-month-old Indian star tortoise is already stealing hearts around the world as video of him eating a strawberry bigger than he is has been seen by close to 200,000 viewers around the world.
In the video, Tiny Tim, who is slightly bigger than a golf ball, was so excited to dig into the giant strawberry, biting into it as it towered over him! As a herbivore, Tiny Tim’s diet mainly consists of fresh leavy greens and grasses but occasionally, he is offered a special treat like strawberries!
When Tiny Tim is fully grown, he will be around 15 times heavier than his current weight and three times the size. Compared to the Australian Reptile Park’s biggest tortoise, the world-famous 71-year-old Hugo, Tiny Tim is over 4,000 times smaller than the Hugo’s hulking 185kg frame.
Australian Reptile Park Head of Reptiles, Jake Meney, was instantly smitten with the new arrival, stating “I love that with reptiles, the babies are just miniature versions of the adults – it’s so cute!”
Upon his arrival at the Park, Keepers were instantly taken with miniature reptile, admiring how he fit so perfectly in the palm of their hand.
Listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List, wild populations of the species are in decline. Found in India and Sri Lanka, they are amongst the smallest tortoise species in the world. Sadly, due to their cute size, they are victim to the illegal pet trade and in 2019, the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banned the illegal trading of the species.
Mr Meney continued “As cute as he is, it’s important to highlight the horrors of the global illegal reptile trade, of which this species is a very unfortunate victim of.
“At the Australian Reptile Park, we support responsible reptile pet ownership and implore prospective pet owners to get their reptile licence and only purchase native reptile species that make good pets,” he concluded.
Visitors can see the rest of the Australian Reptile Park’s ‘creep’ of Indian star tortoises in the Lost World of Reptiles. When he is a little bigger, Tiny Tim will join his new friends, just in time for the Winter School Holidays in July.