Unique Crocodile Species Hatches at Zoo Miami


A False Gavial has hatched at Zoo Miami! This is the Zoo’s first successful hatching, in over 25 years, of this very unique species of crocodile from Indonesia and Malaysia.

After an incubation period of 89 days, at a temperature of 89 degrees, the baby hatched on September 1st and was one of two hatchlings that emerged from a clutch of 25 eggs. Unfortunately, the second hatchling did not survive.

The parents are 45-year-old male, Lockjaw, and 31- year-old female, Nessi. At 14 feet long, Lockjaw is the largest crocodile at the zoo, while Nessi is a bit smaller at 9 feet long.

The False Gavial's numbers are low in the wild (less than 2,500). As late as the year 2000, they were classified by the IUCN as “Endangered”. The species was reassessed in 2011, and they are now at the status of “Vulnerable”. However, they are still threatened by habitat destruction, overfishing of food sources and, to a limited extent, the skin trade.

2_24172844_1588876784467952_7125887576147272089_oPhoto Credits: Zoo Miami 

The False Gavial (Tomistoma schlegelii), also known as False Gharial, Malayan Gharial, Sunda Gharial and Tomistoma, is a freshwater crocodile that is native to Peninsular Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra and Java.

The specific name “schlegelii” honors the German herpetologist, Hermann Schlegel.

The False Gavial has one of the slimmest snouts of any living crocodilian, comparable to the slender-snouted crocodile and the freshwater crocodile. The False Gavial measures slightly smaller than the Gavial.

Until recently, very little was known about the diet or behavior of the species in the wild. In the past, it was thought to have a diet of only fish and very small vertebrates. But more recent evidence and observation indicates that it has a generalist diet despite its narrow snout. In addition to fish and smaller aquatic animals, mature adults prey on larger vertebrates, including proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaques, deer, water birds, and reptiles.

False Gavials are mound-nesters. In the wild, females lay small clutches of 13 to 35 eggs per nest, and appear to produce the largest eggs of extant crocodilians.

It is not known when they breed in the wild or when the nesting season is. Once the eggs are laid, and construction of the mound is completed, the female abandons her nest. Unlike most other crocodiles, the young receive no parental care and are at risk of being eaten by predators. The young hatch after 90 days and are left to fend for themselves.

The False Gavial is threatened with extinction throughout most of its range due to the drainage of its freshwater swamplands and clearance of surrounding rainforests. The species is also hunted frequently for its skin and meat, and the eggs are often harvested for human consumption.

Dwarf Crocodiles Hatch at San Diego Zoo

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On November 6, eight West African Dwarf Crocodiles hatched from eggs at the San Diego Zoo’s Reptile House—the first hatching of its kind in the zoo’s 101-year history. Three baby Crocs successfully hatched on their own, keepers assisted a fourth one in hatching, and more emerged from their eggs throughout the day. The hatchlings are being cared for behind the scenes—and the parents, an 11-year-old female named Yendi and a 50-year-old male named Kumba, can be seen by guests in the Africa Rocks exhibit.

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Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.36
Screen Shot 2017-11-10 at 8.36Photo Credit: San Diego Zoo

The eggs were laid by Yendi on August 13. To ensure the eggs’ viability, animal care staff collected the eggs and incubated them in an off-exhibit area at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Like other Crocodilian species, the gender of West African Dwarf Crocodiles is influenced by incubation temperatures, with higher temperatures required for the development of males. Although it is too soon to tell whether the hatchlings are male or female, keepers hope to determine the Crocodiles’ genders in a few days.

West African Dwarf Crocodiles are the smallest of the world’s Crocodile species, with an average adult length of about five feet.  They inhabit small waterways, wetlands, and swamps in Sub-Saharan West Africa and Central Africa. They are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. There is little data currently available on this species in the wild, so San Diego Zoo Global supports research projects in Africa to better understand the status of West African Dwarf Crocodiles.


Endangered Crocs Hatch at Smithsonian’s National Zoo


Five critically endangered Cuban Crocodiles recently hatched, at the Reptile Discovery Center of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, between July 29 and Aug. 7. Dorothy, a 57-year-old genetically valuable crocodile, laid the eggs. The hatchlings are less than a foot long, but they could reach up to 10.5 feet long when fully grown.



4_19893839283_12d67c93ac_kPhoto Credits: Amy Enchelmeyer/Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Dorothy laid a clutch of 24 eggs in a hole nest on May 12. Crocodiles build either mound or hole nests. Hole nests are not always easily visible after females dig them; however, keepers had been monitoring Dorothy carefully and noticed physical changes indicating she had recently laid eggs. After a week of searching the exhibit for her nest, they found it and excavated the eggs. Ten of the eggs were fertile and moved to an incubator. Half of those fertile eggs continued to develop during the entire gestation period.

A crocodile embryo will develop into a male or female depending on the incubating temperature of the eggs. Only eggs incubated between 89.6 and 90.5 degrees Fahrenheit will hatch out males; any temperature higher or lower will result in females. The surface temperature of Dorothy’s nest was 84.7 degrees Fahrenheit when keepers reached it, and it was seven inches deep.

Keepers incubated the eggs in the temperature range to hatch out males, but it is too early to definitively determine the sex of each crocodile.

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) for Cuban Crocodiles requested that the Zoo hatch all males to ensure that the Cuban Crocodile population in human care continues to be sustainable. In the wild, a Cuban Crocodile’s nest will range in temperature. Depending on an egg’s temperature in the nest, some eggs could incubate at much warmer temperatures than others, resulting in males and females hatching out of the same clutch.

Keepers are behind the scenes, at the Reptile Discovery Center, caring for the baby crocodiles. Guests can see adult Cuban Crocodiles: Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Jefe, on exhibit as usual.

Cuban Crocodiles are listed as “Critically Endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature. They are threatened with habitat loss, hybridization and illegal hunting. They are only found in two swamps in Cuba.

More pics, below the fold!

Continue reading "Endangered Crocs Hatch at Smithsonian’s National Zoo" »

True or False: Rare Gharials Hatch at Audubon Zoo


It's true!  Two False Gharials hatched at the Audubon Zoo in September are the first ever to hatch there and the first to hatch in captivity in the United States since 2009.

Fbb7f315-9b9e-4814-95e3-a3eb9fd32b13Photo Credit:  Audubon Zoo
False Gharials are freshwater crocodilians native to Southeast Asia.  They have long, very thin snouts and inhabit swamps and rivers in Malaysia, Borneo, and Sumatra.

The two hatchlings increase the population of False Gharials at the Audubon Zoo to four.  Only about 30 False Gharials live in American zoos.

Breeding False Gharials is difficult because they require jungle-like conditions in captivity.  Audubon Zoo had been trying for years to breed their pair of False Gharials, and finally achieved success. Melanie Litton, senior reptile keeper at Audubon, said the success may be due, in part, to putting the male Gharial on a diet. “Obesity can effect potency in all kinds of animals, including humans,” Litton said.

Of a clutch of about 20 eggs, two were successfully fertilized, she said. Audubon Zoo will keep one hatchling, while the other will go to the Houston Zoo.

They are only a few inches long now, but will grow up to 15 feet long in adulthood.

False Gharials are considered one of the most threatened of all crocodilians, and were alarmingly close to extinction in the 1970s. They are threatened by habitat loss due to human encroachment and disruption of populations through fishing and hunting.  In recent years, however, there have been signs of recovery in the wild population. 

Rare Siamese Crocodiles Hatch High Hopes for Species


A nest of 20 critically endangered Siamese crocodile eggs were found in the wild in Southeast Asia, and delivered to the care of keepers at Lao Zoo near Vientiane. They were hatched and are being raised in hopes of helping the population grow. There they will live until they are 18 months old, when they will be released back into the wild. Experts estimate there are as few as 300 Siamese crocodiles left in the world, so this hatching of 20 individuals is a significant addition to that total.

The clutch of eggs was found in June in Savannakhet by a team of local villagers. They were trained by the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and are engaged in trying to save the species in Laos. 

"We're thrilled at the prospect of augmenting the wild population of Siamese crocodiles with a new batch of healthy juveniles," Chris Hallam, the WCS crocodile project coordinator, said.


Photo Credits: M.Douangmyxay/ WCN Laos Program


Siamese crocodiles(Crocodylus siamensis) grow up to 10 feet long (3 meters) but are generally docile. That trait only makes them easier to hunt. In recent decades, the species has been preyed upon for its soft skin and meat. leading to it's dire status.

Snappy Baby Crocs!

This past Sunday, St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park welcomed 10 snappy little Saltwater Crocodiles. Interesting coincidence that 10 little crocs hatched on 10-10-10! Many people don't know that baby crocodiles cry to get their mother's attention while inside the shell. When she hears the high pitched noises, which sound similar to a dog's squeaky toy, she will dutifully pick the noisy egg up and gently crack it inside her powerful jaws.

Baby crocodiles st. augustine crocodile farm 1

Baby crocodiles st. augustine crocodile farm 1

Baby crocodiles st. augustine crocodile farm 1

Baby crocodiles st. augustine crocodile farm 1Photo credits: John Brueggen, Director of St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park

One more gooey egg pic below the fold. It's extra gooey. You've been warned.

Continue reading "Snappy Baby Crocs!" »

Rare Crocodile Breeding Success in St. Augustine!

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm has 3 brand new Slender-snouted Crocodiles and 13 more are on the way! Two of the babies (seen below) hatched on exhibit, and the third (also below) in an incubator. African Slender-snouted Crocodiles are rarely bred in captivity and little is known about their habits in the wild. Director John Brueggen says, "we have already learned that the parents opened the nest and carried the eggs to the water to free their young from the eggs.  They are both fantastic parents, defending their babies very aggressively." This is a very important pairing as both of these animals are wild caught and have never bred in captivity prior to this.  Their genes are an important part of the population of M. cataphractus in captivity.




Photo Credits: St. Augustine Crocodile Farm

Frankfurt Zoo: Full of Not-So-Furry New Friends

These reptilian babies are as cute as can be, and they were photographed just one week ago (on my birthday).  Get on over to the Frankfurt Zoo to catch a firsthand glimpse. This croc won't be so cuddly for long!

Zoo Frankfurt's baby Australian Freshwater Cocodile makes eyes at photographer Joachim S. Müller... 


A Juvenile European pond terrapin goes for a ride...


The Frankfurt Zoological Garden is the zoo of Frankfurt, Germany. It features over 5,000 animals of more than 600 species on more than 13 hectares. The zoo was founded in 1858 and is the second oldest Zoo in Germany. It lies in the eastern part of the Innenstadt (inner city).