The Australian Reptile Park has a pint-sized new resident that has beenmelting hearts worldwide as a video of the tiny reptile eating a strawberrybigger than he is has gone viral.

Tiny Tim, the 42g and 5.4cm long, three-month old Indian star tortoise, hasclocked up around 200,000 views around the world in the video of him digginginto the ‘giant’ strawberry that towered over him. As a herbivore, Tiny Tim’sdiet mainly consists of fresh leafy greens and grasses but occasionally, he isoffered a special treat like strawberries.

When Tiny Tim is fully grown, he will be around 15 times heavier than hiscurrent weight and three times the size. Compared to the Australian ReptilePark’s biggest tortoise, the world-famous 71-year-old Hugo, Tiny Tim is morethan 4,000 times smaller than the Hugo’s 185kg frame.

Australian Reptile Park Head of Reptiles, Jake Meney, was instantly smittenwith the new arrival, admiring how he fit so perfectly in the palm of hishand.

“I love that with reptiles, the babies are just miniature versions of theadults – it’s so cute,” he says.

Listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN Red List, wild populations of the speciesare in decline. Found in India and Sri Lanka, they are among the smallesttortoise species in the world. Sadly, due to their cute size, they are victimto the illegal pet trade and in 2019, the United Nations Convention onInternational Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) banned the illegal tradingof the species.

“As cute as he is, it’s important to highlight the horrors of the globalillegal reptile trade, of which this species is a very unfortunate victim of,”says Meney.

“At the Australian Reptile Park, we support responsible reptile pet ownershipand implore prospective pet owners to get their reptile licence and onlypurchase native reptile species that make good pets.”

Visitors can see the rest of the Australian Reptile Park’s ‘creep’ of Indianstar tortoises in the Lost World of Reptiles. When he is a little bigger, TinyTim will join his new friends, just in time for the Winter School Holidays inJuly.

The Australian Reptile Park is a hands-on zoo located the natural bush settingof the Central Coast of NSW, only 60 minutes from Sydney or Newcastle.

Reptile Keeper Mitch Gasnier with Tiny Tim

Image credits: The Australian Reptile Park

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