Rare Electric Blue Geckos Hatch at UK Park

Electric Blue Gecko baby on pen (EBG1)The reptile team, at Cotswold Wildlife Park, is celebrating the arrival of three Electric Blue Gecko babies. 

Electric Blue Gecko (EBG4b)

Electric Blue Gecko baby on pen (EBG12)

Electric Blue Gecko baby on finger (EBG3)Photo Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

It is the first time the park has successfully bred this species. Electric Blue Geckos are only found in a small area in Tanzania and are classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

Survival for these striking creatures in the wild is fraught with peril. They inhabit less than eight square kilometers of the Kimboza Forest in Tanzania, within which they exclusively dwell in the leaf crowns of one specific tree (Pandanus rabaiensis). Tragically, these beautiful lizards are in high demand from the illegal pet trade, which alone wiped out at least 15% of the population in Kimboza Forest between 2004 and 2009. Illegal collectors cut down the Pandanus rabaiensis trees to collect the rare geckos, destroying their delicate habitat and population numbers at the same time.  They also face severe habitat loss from illegal logging, agricultural demands and climate change. Based on a recent study, this species is considered to be threatened with extinction in the near future.

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, commented, “Our specialist Reptile Department has been working on perfecting their husbandry techniques with this species, and these hatchlings are an excellent reward for their dedication. It is a real achievement for the park and we are continuing to get eggs and have a high success rate.”

They are a brand new species to the park. Not long after their arrival, the reptile team noticed tiny eggs in the corner of their off-show enclosure. After approximately sixty to ninety days, three tiny Electric Blue Geckos hatched. The babies are healthy and currently off-show in climate-controlled incubators.

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Cold Blooded Baby Boom in the UK


Cotswold Wildlife Park, in the UK, is experiencing a summer baby boom of the cold blooded variety.  The Reptile Section is awash with new births, including some of the smallest newborns in the entire collection. These include: four Mangrove Snakes (bred for the first time at the Park), six Blood Pythons, three Crested Geckos, four Asian Giant Forest Scorpions and a multitude of Lyretail and Checkerboard Cichlids.

Cotswold_Mangrove Snake

Scorpion 5 DR CWP

Lyretail Cichlids with fry 2 DR CWPPhoto Credits: Cotswold Wildlife Park

Curator of Cotswold Wildlife Park, Jamie Craig, said, “The Keepers at the Park are delighted with the boom in births and hatchlings in the Reptile House.  It is a real achievement to breed some of these species and a testament to the hard work and dedication of the Reptile Department in species that do not always get the same attention as the cute and cuddly!”

Three Crested Gecko babies were hatched on July 10th. Geckos are one of the most diverse groups of lizards on Earth and are an incredible example of animal engineering. The ribbed flesh on their toes enables them to scale vertical surfaces, even polished glass! Engineers with the US Department of Defense’s research project, DARPA, have been looking into creating ‘bio-inspired’ gloves for soldiers based on the Gecko’s ribbed toes.

The new breeding pair of Mangrove Snakes has successfully produced young for the first time. Two yellow and black striped snakes hatched in June. These reptiles are brilliantly camouflaged in the brightly sunlit, leafy mangrove habitat, making them masters of disguise in the wild. The Park’s Blood Pythons also produced six young.

An unexpected birth came from a new species to the collection, the Asian Giant Forest Scorpion. Keepers were pleasantly surprised when the female produced young just weeks after arriving at the Park. The young are born one by one after hatching and expelling the embryonic membrane. The brood is carried on the mother’s back until the young have undergone at least one molt.

Meanwhile, the Insect and Invertebrate House has seen multiple fish births of two species of Lake Tanganyika Cichlids. The Park’s Lyretail and Checkerboard Cichlids have recently produced young. These fish are secretive shelter spawners, and their fry are smaller than a grain of rice.

See more photos below the fold.

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Fantastic Leaf-tailed Gecko Hatches at Houston Zoo

1922048_10152349918072526_38494264_nThis tiny Fantastic Leaf-tailed Gecko hatched at the Houston Zoo on February 17 is easy to spot perched on top of a pencil.  But in the wild, these lizards are so well camouflaged that they’re nearly impossible to find. 


1911713_10152349855352526_734417867_nPhoto Credit:  Stephanie Adams / Houston Zoo

Fantastic Leaf-tailed Geckos are found only on Madagascar, where their coloration mimics dead leaves and twigs.  Their legs look like tiny branches and their tails resemble dead leaves – complete with veins and ragged edges.  Even zoo keepers have a hard time finding the lizards in their enclosure.

This species is also called the Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko, due to their pointy, raised brow ridges.  Like other Geckos, these lizards lack eyelids, so they clean their eyeballs with a swipe of the tongue.  They are nocturnal, feeding mainly on insects.

Due to extensive habitat destruction from cattle grazing, logging, and agriculture, Fantastic Leaf-tailed Gecko populations are decreasing.

See more photos below.

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Meet Leo and Lisa, Sao Paulo's Leopard Geckos


Two little Leopard Geckos, named Leonardo and Mona Lisa, hatched on May 10 at São Paulo Zoo in Brazil. They are very healthy and lively, according to the zoo’s staff.



Photo Credits:  Carlos Nader (1,2,4); Cybele Lisboa (3)

Leonardo and Mona Lisa were born after 89 days of incubation, weighing only about 0.1 ounce (3 g) each. Leopard Geckos are solitary animals, thus their parents were together only during mating season. Females can lay up to 10 eggs per season, always in pairs, with an interval of about 15 days between each laying.  Incubation time varies with temperature, and lasts from 36 to 107 days.

The hatchlings are already showing different preferences for their meals: Leo prefers mealworms and Lisa prefers crickets. The biologists weigh the lizards every week, and in the first month, they gained about .03 ounce (1g).  As adults, Leopard Geckos weigh 1.7 ounces (50 g).

Leopard Geckos inhabit the deserts of Asia. As adults, they have "fat" tails that are used to store energy, because food is scarce in their environment. A Gecko can detach its tail at will, and the tail will twitch for a long time to deceive predators as the Gecko runs away from danger. Although they would prefer to keep the tail and energy supply, this mechanism will most likely save the Gecko's life, and it will eventually regrow a new tail.

See more photos of Leo and Lisa below the fold.

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Two Little Coatis Born at Exmoor Zoo


Two baby Coatis are charming visitors at the U.K.’s Exmoor Zoo. The pair was born earlier this month.  Native to Central and South America, Coatis use their long, flexible snout to search for insects, spiders, fruit, and small animals. 




As close relatives of raccoons, Coatis exhibit agility, intelligence, and adaptability.  They can be found in a variety of habitats, from tropical rain forests to high mountain slopes. Coatis commonly forage on the forest floor, using their pig-like snout to push aside leaf litter as they look for food.  They are easily identified by their long, striped tail.  Coatis may travel in loose groups of up to 25 individuals.

While not listed as threatened, Coatis face pressures from habitat destruction and unregulated hunting.

Photo Credit:  Exmoor Zoo

Satanic Gecko - San Diego Zoo's First Birth of 2011


The San Diego Zoo’s first baby of the year looked quite innocent as it crawled on leaves and even one keeper’s finger yesterday afternoon. But because of the horns above its eyes, the reptile is known as a Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko. The San Diego Zoo is one of only seven zoos in the United States with this species in its collection and one of only two breeding them. This endangered gecko is native only to Madagascar. You can't make it out in these pictures, but the lizard's tail is wide and flat resembling a leaf.

SatanicGecko2Photo credits: Ken Bohn / San Diego Zoo

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