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On Wednesday, the Birmingham Zoo announced the birth of the rare Phillippine Sailfin Dragon triplets.
Zookeepers named the babies Ezekiel, Nat and Tony.
The Birmingham Zoo released on Facebook an account of the hatching, including the birth of baby dragon Tony in the zookeeper’s hands!
Below is the story:
“After three years and numerous attempts at incubating eggs, our female Philippine Sailfin Dragon, Naga, managed to hide eggs from us too well! Oviparous (egg-laying) reptiles bury their eggs to allow them to finish development. In true Mama-Knows-Best fashion, Naga buried three eggs almost a foot deep! The eggs were later found during a weekly egg check. What happened next was a once in a lifetime moment, as one of the eggs hatched in the hands of Andy S., a 10 year Animal Care Professional in Reptiles! “Welcome to the world Tony,” Andy said. This tiny creature was fully developed and ready to go!
The other two eggs were placed in the incubator to “fin-ish” developing . A few days later the remaining two eggs hatched as tiny perfect lizards – named Ezekiel and Nat. Sailfin Dragons are precocial, meaning when hatched, they are highly developed and ready to fend for themselves – climbing, swimming, eating plants, and hunting everything from birds, fish, mammals, and even other reptiles!”
According to the Birmingham Zoo, presently the baby dragons weigh around 15 grams (half an ounce). They are expected to grow up to a meter long (over 3 feet) and weigh in at 1.5 kilograms (3 pounds). The Philippine Sailfin Dragons are listed as vulnerable due to habitat loss, being hunted for food, and being popular in the pet trade. What makes this hatching extra special, is your Zoo and San Diego Zoo are the only zoos that have successfully bred this species in the last year.
Only 12 zoos in the United States have these lizards in their collection.
Welcome to the Magic City Tony, Ezekiel, and Nat! Congrats to their mom Naga. And thank you Birmingham Zoo for your conservation efforts.