Dozens Of Babies Steal The Show At Cincinnati Zoo

2015-04-02 Lion Cubs 1 626The Cincinnati Zoo is celebrating a baby bonanza – dozens of babies have been born at the zoo in the past few months.  In fact, there are so many babies that the zoo is celebrating “Zoo Babies” month in May.Kea

2015-03-16 MonaJeffMcCurryPhoto Credit:  Cassandre Crawford, Jeff McCurry, Cincinnati Zoo

All the little ones have kept their parents – and zoo keepers – busy.  The three female African Lion cubs are particularly feisty, testing their “grrrl” power on a daily basis with their father John and mother Imani. 

Other babies include three Bonobos, two Gorillas, a Bongo, a Serval, two Capybaras, a Rough Green Snake, Giant Spiny Leaf Insects, Thorny Devils, Little Penguin chicks and Kea chicks.  “This is the largest and most varied group of babies we’ve had. We’re particularly excited about the successes we’ve had with the endangered African Painted Dogs and the hard-to-breed Kea,” said Thane Maynard, Cincinnati Zoo Executive Director.

See more photos of Cincinnati's Zoo's babies below.

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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.

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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.

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Threatened Narrow-headed Gartersnakes Born at Phoenix Zoo


The Phoenix Zoo’s Arthur L. and Elaine V. Johnson Foundation Native Species Conservation Center has announced the first-ever propagation of the threatened Narrow-headed Gartersnake (Thamnophis rufipunctatus).

In 2007, the Zoo received a small research population of wild-caught Narrow-headed Gartersnakes in hopes of developing a propagation and release program. On the morning of July 2, 2014, a four-year-old gave birth to 18 neonates in the Zoo’s specially designed outdoor Suzan L. Biehler Herpetarium. All 18 offspring are healthy and were observed capturing live fish within 48 hours. This reproductive event is the culmination of years of husbandry work and scientific research by the Zoo’s conservation staff. This significant birth comes at a critical time since on July 7, 2014 the species was listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The Zoo has also developed a husbandry manual for this species that is currently in use by members of the GCWG.




“The birth of the Narrow-headed Gartersnakes here is a fulfillment of Phoenix Zoo’s commitment to supporting native species conservation and recovery”, says Stuart Wells, Director of Conservation sand Science at the Phoenix Zoo. “Our dedicated staff has worked tirelessly for many years to achieve this goal. We are proud of this accomplishment and pleased to contribute to the recovery of this species." The Narrow-headed Gartersnake is a unique, highly aquatic species. Its numbers have been declining throughout its range in Arizona and New Mexico for over a decade. Many factors are contributing to the decline including drought, non-native invasive species, wildfire and agricultural/urban encroachment. Beginning in 2006, the Gartersnake Conservation Working Group (GCWG), a multi-partner, collaborative effort, was formed by US Fish and Wildlife Service to help conserve and recover the northern Mexican gartersnake and the Narrow-headed Gartersnake.

“The Narrow-headed Gartersnake is a mid- to high-elevation, stream-dwelling species that is very sensitive to environmental and physical stress”, explains Jeff Servoss, US Fish and Wildlife Service Chair of the Gartersnake Conservation Working Group. “These traits make this species a unique challenge for those trying to not only keep them alive in captivity, but also trying to produce offspring. After many years of trying, by many different institutions, the Phoenix Zoo has finally produced viable Narrow-headed Gartersnakes. This achievement is very noteworthy and a testament to the Zoo's relentless effort to identify the variables that have prevented breeding in the past. This is a significant achievement and a giant step forward for gartersnake conservation." The offspring are being head-started for a period of six to nine months before the majority is released to the wild. The remaining few will be retained for the breeding program. The Zoo is proud of this accomplishment and appreciates the opportunity to support the conservation of wildlife in Arizona and throughout the world.

Tentacled Snake babies a surprise for National Zoo's staff


The newest additions to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo were a surprise even to the keepers: eight Tentacled Snakes were born October 21 to parents that have not produced viable young in the past four years, despite breeding attempts. Tentacled Snakes are aquatic, produce live young and are ambush hunters. They use their tails to anchor themselves and wait underwater for their prey. They get their name from the unique tentacles that protrude from their snout and function as sensory mechanisms that allow the reptiles to pick up vibrations from fish that swim by.




“Within a few hours of being born, the snakes were already acting like adults,” said Matt Evans, Reptile Discovery Center keeper. “Instincts took over and they were hunting. We don’t know much about this cryptic species, but we’re already learning so much just watching them grow.”

Tentacled Snakes are native to the mangrove swamps of southeast Asia.  They can remain underwater for up to 30 minutes.  Known as rear-fanged snakes, their venomous fangs are located in the back of the mouth.  They are not considered dangerous to humans. 

The zoo’s four adult snakes are on exhibit at the Reptile Discovery Center, while the eight young snakes will likely be sent to other zoos when they get older. Only a few zoos exhibit this species, which is listed as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Photo Credit: Brittany Steff, Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Rare Snakes hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo return to Illinois’ wild prairies


Eighteen of the cutest creepy crawlers in Chicagoland were released into the wild on August 29 as part of a joint conservation effort by Lincoln Park Zoo and the Lake County Forest Preserve District that seeks to restore the Smooth Green Snake to its native prairie home.

Categorized as an Illinois Species in Greatest Need of Conservation, these tiny, jewel-colored snakes have drastically dwindled in population over the past few decades.

“Snakes need champions too,” said Lincoln Park Zoo Reintroduction Biologist Allison Sacerdote, Ph.D. “People like the warm and fuzzy animals, but it is important that conservation stretches across the entire ecosystem.”

After years of development across Illinois, the Prairie State has less than one percent of its original prairie intact.

“Our wildlife monitoring program revealed, that even in areas with the suitable habitat, Smooth Green Snakes were absent or extremely rare despite our habitat restoration efforts,” said Gary Glowacki, Wildlife Biologist of the Lake County Forest Preserve District. “The decline we have seen is largely due to habitat loss as prairies were converted into agriculture, urbanization, and the widespread use of pesticides.”

Essentially, the grasslands and the critters that call them home need all the help they can get.  In the case of the Smooth Green Snake, the help begins with a “head start” at the zoo. Animal care staffers provide optimum conditions for hatching and development so the snakes have a fighting chance when they are released.


Photo Credit: James Seidler

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Officials from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo announced yesterday that after a thorough seven-day search in the zoo’s Reptile House, the missing Egyptian cobra has been found inside the building. Officials made the announcement at a news conference, where they showed a photograph of the adolescent snake resting comfortably in a secure enclosure. This morning kicked off a whirlwind media tour with the yet to be named female Cobra joining the ladies of The View for a special live broadcast.


Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher / Wildlife Conservation Society


Green Tree Python Babies Slither into Houston

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Green Tree Pythons are a favorite among reptile fans due to their vibrant green color. However, zoo visitors are often amazed to see that newly hatched babies are either bright yellow or brick red. The Houston Zoo recently hatched 18 little Green Tree Pythons, 8 yellow and 10 red.  These colors help them hide in their preferred habitat, which is in low lying tree branches along the forest edge. When they grow to about 22 inches long their color changes to bright green - sometimes this color change can occur in only 8 days! The red and yellow colors are not related to sex or any other trait. While these reptiles may eventually reach over 4 1/2 feet in length, at birth they are about the length of a pencil. 

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(Below) An adult Green Tree Python in its trademark colors

Adult color Green Tree Python Houston Zoo1Photo credits: Stephanie Adams

More photos and info below the fold

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National Zoo Python Baby Wraps it up

Had enough of exotic kittens?  We didn't think so, but it's high time we represented the reptiles. These pictures taken yesterday at the National Zoo present pythons in a new light. Be careful though, adult green tree pythons grow to seven feet in length! Thanks to Linda Lombardi for the pictures and info.

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This fellow was born in April. Read on to see more from the National Zoo...

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