A new baby is already following in the footsteps of dad - the world's fastest tortoise

The new arrival at an animal centre is already showing signs of following in its dad's footsteps - as the world's fastest tortoise.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 31 August, 2018, 14:55

Bertie, one of the tortoises at Adventure Valley in Durham became an overnight sensation when he broke the world record of tortoise speed.

At the weekend he and his girlfriend, Shelly, welcomed their first offspring, who, at less than two inches long, is already proving quick on its feet.

The new arrival.

Staff at the centre won't know the sex of the baby until it has a shell of at least four inches long, probably at about the age of three.

But, the youngster is already proving a hit with visitors to the centre and is something of a mini celebrity already.

A competition is being run via Adventure Valley's website to come up with a gender neutral name for the baby. Although there is a process they could use to extract DNA and find out the sex of the baby, it is quite invasive and animal keepers don't want to put the new arrival through that.

Entering the Guinness Book of Records in 2014, Bertie is the Usain Bolt of the tortoise world.

Brothers George and Henry Smith enjoy meeting the new arrival.

He has hit the headlines all over the world and even auditioned for Britain's Got Talent last year.

Bertie, 12, and 10-year-old Shelly, who are both leopard tortoises, have been inseparable since they met at the centre in 2012.

Andrew Garthwaite, general manager at Adventure Valley, said both the animals were donated to the centre by their previous owners.

He said: "We are really over the moon they have had a baby, it's great to have something like this at the centre."

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The new baby tortoise at Adventure Valley.

Last year Shelly laid some eggs, but was too young to incubate them, so they didn't hatch.

He said: "They bury them in the sand, so this year we just had to wait and see what happened and were thrilled when one of them hatched.

"There are still a couple of eggs in there, but we don't think they will hatch now."

Andrew said in nature tortoises just hatch the eggs and then don't have anything to do with the babies, they are just left to their own devises.

The new parents, Bertie, left, and Shelly. Photo by Andrew Garthwaite.

Luckily for Bertie and Shelly's new arrival, the staff at Adventure Valley are making sure it is safe and well in its own little enclosure, where it munches on leaves and a special pellet mix.

Andrew said: "It is already proving to be a speedy little fellow, it is always on the go."

In tortoise years, Bertie and Shelly are young adults and can live up to 100 years, so there is plenty of time for them to produce more babies.

At Adventure Valley, Bertie and Shelly have their own VIP enclosure and due to his celebrity status, friendly Bertie goes out every day to meet his adoring public and show them how fast he can run.

Bertie the world's fastest tortoise.
Bertie with his prized certificate.