Two female Chinese crocodile lizards gave birth at Seatle's Woodland Park Zoo this fall and their two litters produced a total of eleven babies. And that's right, they were not hatched, but born. These reptiles actually give birth to their young, after a 9-12 month gestation.
The newborns, weighing approximately 4 to 6 grams, are independent at birth and litter size ranges from 1 to 9. In the last picture below, you can see a side by side size comparison of the adult and baby. Since WPZ acquired a pair in 1993, there have been 70 crocodile lizard offspring born at the Zoo.
The Chinese crocodile lizard is an endangered lizard found in the Guanxi province in Southern China and in 2002 previously unknown populations were discovered in northern Vietnam. This species is semi-aquatic and lives in creeks between 200–700m in altitude surrounded by broadleaf trees and conifers. This lizard has become severely endangered due to collection for the pet trade and for food, and from habitat destruction.
Learn more about this “giant panda of the reptile world” and the Woodland Park zookeepers’ recent trip to China for a symposium on breeding and conservation of this endangered species on the Zoo's blog.