Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: December 11, 2021 12:01 am
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © Bronx Zoo/WCS
The Bronx Zoo herpetology team are celebrating the first hatching of Komodo dragons in the zoos 122-year history. The Komodo Dragon is considered the world’s largest species of lizard.
It has been a year of hard work for the zoo’s Herpetology Department staff. It all began with careful introductions between the zoo’s adult pair. In this species, it is not uncommon for courtship to turn aggressive.
Following these introductions the first eggs were laid in April 2021. These were placed in an incubator and carefully monitored through their seven month incubation period.
“This is an important achievement for zoo staff and a significant milestone for the Bronx Zoo,” said Don Boyer, Curator of Herpetology at the Bronx Zoo. “Komodo dragons are one of the planet’s most fascinating species and these hatchlings represent a hopeful future for the species. They will be wonderful ambassadors for their wild counterparts as they help us raise awareness about conservation needs.”
Their hatching followings a recommendation from the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding and management program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to maintain genetic diversity and demographic stability in zoo populations.
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Bronx Zoo have housed Komodo dragons in Zoo Center since 2014. This was the first time the zoo had housed the species since the 1950s. Some of the hatchlings can also now be viewed by guests at the Bronx Zoo’s World of Reptiles habitat.
Komodo dragons are the world’s largest lizard and are found exclusively in Indonesia.
They are able to consume large prey such as deer and buffalo which they will take down using sharp, serrated teeth which will inflict a serious wound. These lizards use their highly developed sense of smell to track large prey which often doesn’t pass immediately.
These animals were moved from vulnerable to endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. Some estimates place the total population at just 2,500.
The eastern massasauga rattlesnake hatchlings at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Photo Credit: Kevin Torregrosa © Bronx Zoo/WCS
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