A Mertens’ Water Monitor hatched from its egg last week in the World of Reptiles nursery at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. The hatchling measured more than eight inches from nose to tail once it freed itself from the egg, which is approximately the same size as a chicken egg. The hatchling is one of 9 siblings at the Zoo. Mertens’ Water Monitors are a protected species native to Australia and are threatened by collection for the pet trade. WCS works around the globe to protect wildlife and wild places and stop the illegal collection of wild animals.
Today we bring you back-to-back reptile babies, which means half of our readership just got really excited and the other half just got an uninvited lunchtime surprise! Huge kudos to the L.A. Zoo for breeding the first ever Giant Horned Lizards to be successfully hatched at a North American zoo. “This clutch is a milestone event for the L.A. Zoo and zoos across the continent. These lizards will serve as ambassadors for their species and aid in the study of this species,” said Los Angeles Zoo Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians Ian Recchio. When they first hatched, the lizards weighed about one gram and were roughly the size of a nickel. “Giant” is a relative term, so don’t expect them to grow too large; these fierce-looking lizards will reach a maximum length of about 10 inches when full grown, large for this family of lizards.
Though little is known about the giant horned lizard, they are one of the species that is able to squirt blood out of their eyes as a defense mechanism. While this is an interesting and unique trait, Recchio says “L.A. Zoo reptile keepers haven’t witnessed it first hand and that’s a good thing. When horned lizards perform this action it means they are under stress and feel threatened. Since the lizards haven’t displayed this behavior at the Zoo, it indicates they are comfortable in their environment here.”
Next we have a baby Mexican Beaded Lizard, one of only two species of venomous lizards in North America, hatched on January 16, 2011 at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. Beaded lizards have venom glands in their lower jaws that allow them to chew venom directly into their prey. There is no anti-venom to counteract a beaded lizard bite. Zoo staff named the new beaded lizard "Gaspar" to honor Tampa’s annual pirate festival Gasparilla, during which beads are tossed out from parade floats.
See more photos below the fold
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.
As Halloween draws near, Denver Zoo is hatching dragons! Komodo Dragons, that is. Four have already hatched and four more eggs remain in an incubator. The hatchlings began emerging from their shells a week ago. They are all behind-the-scenes now, but visitors should be able to see them in Tropical Discovery’s nursery in time for the zoo’s Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo.
A Komodo Dragon hatchling emerges from its shell (Below)
On August 8, 2010 the first of 22 Komodo dragons hatched at the L.A. Zoo. Over the course of the next 11 days, 21 additional Komodos hatched.
Lima, the Zoo’s female Komodo dragon, laid 23 eggs back in January so hatching 22 was a huge success!. Fewer than 10 zoos in North America have been able to breed Komodos; this marks the L.A. Zoo’s first success at breeding them.
Photo Credits: Tad Motoyama / L.A. Zoo
Sometimes, tinier is better. This green little fellow is about as tiny as they come. The National Zoo's female veiled chameleon laid 27 eggs last December, some were infertile, and nine hatched between May 31 and June 14. The two- to three-inch-long young were very agile shortly after hatching. Adult chameleons are solitary animals, but for the first few weeks, the babies will be kept together.
Cheers to Linda L. for the heads up!
On November 11th, four little dragonlings hatched at the Smithsonian National Zoo. Little is known about the Chameleon Forest Dragon, except that they are not actually chameleons (and there's no such thing as real dragons of course... sorry if we got your hopes up).
Native to Indonesia and Malaysia, Chameleon Forest Dragons are a brilliant green at birth and then change to a darker green or brown in adulthood to camouflage the lizards in their treetop homes.Photo Credits: Mehgan Murphy / National Zoo
The Singapore Zoo has hatched the first baby Komodo Dragon in it's 34 year history. Here you get a rare glimpse at the world's heaviest lizard at it's very smallest: just hatched! At this size the apex predator of the the Indonesian isles looks pretty harmless but in adulthood wild Komodo Dragons grow up to 10ft long and eat deer or even buffalo!