The Memphis Zoo has received some recent additions with the hatchings of several Komodo dragons.
Komodo dragons have an incubation period of 220-250 days. "Norberta," the Zoo's nine-year-old female, laid a clutch of 20 eggs in late May. Out of the 20, 16 were viable and produced offspring.
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This marks the Memphis Zoo's third successful clutch of Komodo dragons since the reproduction program began in 2011. There are fewer than 20 zoos in the United States that have bred Komodo dragons. Of those, only half successfully bred them more than once.
The likely father, "Jeff," was obtained from the Los Angeles Zoo on a breeding loan, and the female was loaned to the Memphis Zoo by the Toronto Zoo after a brief stop at the Minnesota Zoo.
"This success is a perfect example of how several zoos can cooperate to achieve a conservation triumph they couldn't attain alone," Dr. Steve Reichling, Curator of Reptiles and Amphibians said.
The Memphis Zoo's first Komodo dragon baby, "Falcor," was born Oct. 8, 2011. He is currently on display in the Herpetarium. The next successful clutch produced four babies in March 2012. Two have been loaned to the Minnesota Zoo, while the other two are on display in the Herpetarium as well.
The sex of the newest babies will be determined by tests during the Spring months. Zookeepers are waiting to name the babies until it is determined whether the hatchlings are male or female.
The Memphis Zoo's Komodo dragon exhibit, The Dragon's Lair, opened in 1998, and houses three adult dragons: Norberta, and two males, Jeff and "Voltron."