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In her fifties, Cuban crocodile Dorothy is now the proud mother of two new baby crocs. Surprising everyone at the National Zoo, the elderly animal was presumed to be done laying eggs. “We thought our window was kind of lost,” supervisory biologist Matthew Evans told the AP.
The zoo has not been able to successfully hatch Cuban crocodile eggs since 1988, making the birth of two new hatchlings a critical achievement. Of the 26 eggs Dorothy laid, only 12 were fertile. Those were taken to incubators where only two made it to hatching. With only 4,000 remaining in the wild, the Cuban crocodile is endangered.
Other Cuban crocodile babies have been born in zoos around the country, but the species is still very rare. “To actually have offspring that we’re sitting here looking at is just — I can’t express to you how cool and exciting that is,” Evans said.
The Zoo says it may display one of the babies to demonstrate its conservation efforts. Known for being feisty, the animals can even be aggressive toward each other and necessitate a great deal of care.
Before the public gets a chance to view the critters in person, check out the Zoo’s flickr page for more photos.