Two baby tortoises have been born at Natureland Seal Santuary - the first to successfully hatch at the site for 15 years.
Not much bigger than a 50 pence piece, the tiny reptiles took staff by surprise when they were found crawling around the egg incubator.
Although their resident Hermann tortoises regularly lay eggs, with staff incubating them as a matter of course, it is rare for their eggs to successfully hatch.
“We have four more eggs in the incubator from the same batch which could hatch at any time - so we may end up with six babies,” said Natureland’s trainee manager Matt Yeadon.
“The last batch to be born at the site was in 2002 - but unfortunately the babies were stolen, along with their dad.”
He added: “Although we had other tortoises here, I think the reason they hadn’t been breeding too well is the thieves took the only adult male doing the job properly.”
Hermann tortoises can live to over 100 years, and Matt said the current babies’ ‘dad’ may have only just reached a suitable breeding age.
The pair are being carefull looked after behind-the-scenes and will go on display, with the sanctuary’s 10 adult tortoises when they are old enough.