Sedgwick County Zoo

Coin Sized Carrot-tail Viper Geckos Are Hatching

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Sedgwick County Zoo currently has two tiny Carrot-tail Viper Gecko hatchlings.

The Zoo reports there are several more eggs incubating, and if all goes well, they expect two geckos to hatch every couple of weeks.

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4_carrot-tail viper geckoPhoto Credits: Sedgwick County Zoo

The Carrot-tail Viper Gecko (Hemidactylus imbricatus) is native to arid rocky regions of southeastern Pakistan. They can be found under rocks during the day. Their distinctive pattern provides excellent camouflage amongst stones and pebbles.

Only about an inch in length at hatching, adults reach a total length of about three and a half inches.

To avoid the heat of the day, these tiny desert dwellers hunt for insects in the early morning and late evening. Their oddly shaped tail stores fat and water for when food is scarce.

Females lay one to two eggs per clutch, each the size of a pea, and the eggs are produced every two to three weeks for as many as twelve clutches per year. Incubation takes from 50 to 60 days, at temperatures of 81 to 86F.

The Carrot-tail Viper Gecko is currently classified as “Least Concern” According to the IUCN Red List: “Hemidactylus imbricatus has been assessed as Least Concern. Despite some habitat loss and degradation, its population is unlikely to be undergoing significant declines to qualify for listing in a threatened category. Further research is needed to identify if a significant future decline triggers a higher threat category.”

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Sedqwick County Zoo Films Birth of Little-studied Amphibian Species

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On December 12, eight Kaup's Caecilians were born on exhibit at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas! Although they might look like earthworms or little snakes, Caecilians (pronounced seh-SILL-yens) are amphibians, related to frogs and salamanders. They are by far the least familiar group of amphibians for zoo visitors. The births are believed to be the first captive reproduction of this poorly known and virtually unstudied species. 

Ranging throughout the tropics of the Americas, Africa, and Asia, most Caecilians are blind and live entirely underground. However, a few Amazonian species are aquatic, such as the Kaup’s Caecilian. 

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Here's a video of the births. At the end there is a much clearer view of the swimming babies.

 

Rather than laying eggs, Kaup's Caecilians give birth to live, fully-developed young. The pinkish youngsters were born with large, sac-like gills which quickly detached from their bodies during the birthing process. Unlike the gills of other amphibians, the gills of Kaup's Caecilians are thought to serve a placenta-like function while in the mother's body, and are not used for respiration after birth.

The babies are currently in a behind-the-scenes area. However, the adults can be found in the zoo's Amphibian & Reptile building.


Naturally-Conceived Tiger Cubs Thrive at Sedgwick County Zoo

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Sedgwick County Zoo in Kansas celebrated the birth of two Amur Tiger cubs on July 6! The cubs are believed to be a male and female, and so far are healthy and thriving. The cubs opened their eyes for the first time at 10 days old. According to their checkup at 15 days old, the cubs are growing in leaps and bounds. The female cub weighed three pounds at birth and had more than doubled her weight, weighing in at seven pounds. The male cub was slightly smaller, born at just under three pounds and weighing about six pounds at 15 days.

The birth of the two cubs is especially uplifting news for the zoo. Last year, two female Amur Tigers at Sedgwick County Zoo were artificially inseminated. One cub was born, but sadly did not survive. This year's cubs were conceived naturally by mother Talali, eight years old, and father Ivan, four years old. 

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Photo credits: Sedwick County Zoo 

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Hand-rearing a Baby Orangutan at Sedgwick County Zoo

Baby orangutan clinging to keeper at Sedgwick County Zoo

It’s a boy! On May 19th, the Sedgwick County Zoo welcomed a baby Orangutan to mother Daisy. Unfortunately Daisy did not show much interest in caring for her newborn so the baby is now being raised by hand with round-the-clock keeper care. However, Zoo officials aren't giving up and are coaching Daisy on mothering behaviors in the hopes of returning the baby to her care soon. Zookeeper Devin Bailey explained, ”Being hand-raised might make the infant more people-oriented like his mother. Zookeepers want to make sure that this infant orangutan knows he’s an orangutan. Zookeepers are providing for the physical and psychological well-being of the orangutan instead of mom, for now. However, keepers are still working on maternal care behaviors with Daisy and are thinking positive. We believe we’re on the right track and hope that Daisy might show more interest in taking on some of her infant care responsibilities,” Bailey said. "Daisy is showing some progress. She’s interested. She’s not mean. But she’s just not sure if she should pick up this new arrival"

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Newborn Orangutan Doing Well With Keepers' Help

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On Thursday, May 19 at approximately 6:30 a.m. Sedgwick County Zoo welcomed a baby Orangutan into the world. Baby is doing fine while mom, Daisy, is recovering nicely. However, she hasn’t shown much interest in being a mom or caring for her newborn. Zookeepers worked with Daisy to encourage an early bond with the newborn and continue working with her on maternal care behaviors. Daisy and the newborn Orangutan remain off exhibit so keepers can work with Daisy and care for the infant.

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Photo credits: Sedgwick County Zoo

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