Merry munching Larry!

Christmas came early for Larry, one of our African spurred tortoises, after keepers served up some festive food for the tortoise group.

Senior Keeper Sarah Evans and Keeper Adam Davey (pictured) mixed the tortoises’ regular 450g serving of nutritious pellets with water and shaped it into decorative holly leaves to get into the festive spirit.

Adam also sliced carrots to resemble the berries for the early Christmas lunch, which Larry was the first to sample.

At Dudley Zoo we have four other African spurred tortoises named Ernie, Rufus, Percy and Bert, one Hermann’s tortoise called Patricia and finally Sammy, a spur-thighed tortoise.

In addition to their daily pellet mix the group enjoys lots of leafy greens, cuttlefish to keep their beaks trim and hay, which mimics the scrub grass tortoises eat in the wild.

Sarah, who has worked at the zoo for more than nine years, said: “Larry soon got stuck in to the special lunch before sharing it with the others.

“All the African spurred boys have grown so much since I started working here. They were only the size of dinner plates then and you could carry one under each arm.

“Now we have to put a board on top of the scales when we weigh them as they have grown way too big for them.”