Escape Into Life
First the shell begins to crack. Then there’s a flurry of activity as the tiny creature curled up inside the egg breaks a hole in the shell.
Next, a scaly, pink foot emerges, flailing wildly, before – bit by bit – the miniature damp bundle bursts forth from the broken shell, making its appearance in the world for the very first time.
These extraordinary sets of pictures show the young of four different species hatching from their eggs.
Phew: It’s not like breaking into a chocolate Easter egg – it’s a lot tougher and requires a sheer muscle power
…and after a short rest, it’s off to explore. After all, no good having one’s head in the sand
Titled ‘Escape Into Life’, the series records the first moments of a newborn chick, the young of the African penguin (whose eggs are laid in caves padded with feathers and bits of wood), the ostrich (which breaks the shell not by pecking, but expanding the muscles of its throat) and, finally, the red footed tortoise (seen here popping out of its shell with mouth wide open as if in astonished rapture at what it can see).
The work of husband and wife team Heidi and Hans-Juergen Koch from Germany (who have specialised in animal photography for the past 20 years) they are the result of many days and weeks of patient observation – and provide a fascinating pictoral record of four creatures arriving into the world.
Cracked it: My approach is to peck the shell into tiny pieces – from the inside out
…so that I’m soon ready for action in anyone’s book. Penguin books, even
Escape claws: 150 days after the egg is laid, a scaly red foot emerges
…and after being buried in the sand for so long, it’s clearly turtley exciting to be here!
Hen-pecked: Domestic chickens chip around the shell to remove the cap
Still wet: I may look bedraggled, but within minutes I’ll look like your classic fluffy chick