Crocodile

Endangered Crocs Hatch at Smithsonian’s National Zoo

1_20326667558_5a1aea2750_k

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.

2_20326640888_c1363efa78_k

3_20326632048_ccf6937759_k

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

B5773d03-6d1d-44d7-9a25-e5f48fc7b242

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.

9cc418dc-5151-4b03-bcaf-05a3d5d27230
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

Croc

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.

Crocegg

Crocodile-hand-110901
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.

St-augustine-croc-babies-5

St-augustine-croc-babies-1

St-augustine-croc-babies-4

St-augustine-croc-babies-3
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... 

3198009895_54c12a78f0

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

3198855360_8895420cd0

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).