Cuban crocodile births surprise National Zoo officials

July 23, 2012

Dorothy the Cuban crocodile had a surprise for her keepers at the National Zoo.

At about 55 years of age, Dorothy became a mom for the first time when two of the 26 eggs she laid hatched. She brought two very rare and endangered Cuban crocodiles into the world.

The baby crocs were born July 6 and July 14, and they are the first Cuban crocodile births at the zoo since 1988. (Do the math; how many years is that?)

Dorothy hadn’t laid eggs in about five years, and so zookeepers thought there was little chance she could still become a mother. Because there are only about 4,000 of the crocodiles left in the wild (and very few in zoos), the births at the National Zoo could be very important for preventing the species from becoming extinct.

The babies are being raised by zookeepers and get fed a cricket every few days. They already have teeth and can snap.

You can’t see the babies yet, but one or both may go on display in the next few months to help people learn more about the species.

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