Baby freshwater crocodiles hatch at the alligator farm

Contributed

 

Earlier this month, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park witnessed a rare occurrence in North America: the hatching of four freshwater Johnston’s crocodiles, Crocodylus johnstoni.

The new babies mark the first time the species has hatched at the zoo and only the second time babies of this species were welcomed in North America, with first captive hatch credits going to the Baltimore Aquarium.

The alligator farm is waiting to see if more hatchlings emerge from the remaining eggs in the clutch.

“These are Johnston’s crocodiles, what Australians refer to as ‘freshies,’” said Jim Darlington, reptile curator at the Alligator Farm. “It’s a first for us. It’s very exciting, and we might have one or two more soon. We try not to count our crocs before they hatch. I don’t want to jinx it, but we’re hopeful.”

The new hatchlings continue a trend of new arrivals that began last summer with the arrival of the first Indian gharial to be hatched outside of India or Nepal. The gharial’s birthday celebration was soon followed by the arrival of six baby Galapagos tortoises, who began hatching the same day as the gharial. Their birth marked the first time this endangered species was bred at the Alligator Farm since the arrival of Galapagos tortoises at the park in 1947.

“The hatching of the freshies is another terrific achievement in terms of animal conservation, which is a vital part of our mission” said John Brueggen, zoo director. “I’m proud of our team of reptile keepers who helped make this happen, and I’m looking forward to inviting visitors to the zoo to see the new baby freshies.”

The St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park is one of Florida’s oldest attractions.

Located on Anastasia Island, The Alligator Farm features natural exhibits, wildlife shows and educational demonstrations.

For information, go to alligatorfarm.com.

 

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