Beaded lizards born
Friday 1 February 2008
ZSL London Zoo is celebrating the birth of 11 vulnerable beaded lizards (Heloderma horridum), successfully bred for the third time running.
The second most poisonous reptile in the world, the babies will immediately become part of a European breeding programme.
Despite ZSL’s success in breeding the species, there were only three recorded breedings in European and American zoos in 2007 out of 30 institutions keeping the lizards. The babies measure up to 22cm long but will grow to a massive 1 metre when fully grown. The Latin name Heloderma horridum means ‘studded-skinned horror’ and they have small pellets of bone in their skin that act like chainmail armour. Native to Mexico and Guatemala, the beaded lizard is cousin to the gila monster, which is the second biggest lizard in the USA.
So important is their survival, they are being kept backstage until transferred to other zoos next year. The proud parents can be seen in the reptile house. We already have new homes for four of the lizards and they will be incorporated into the EEP breeding programme and the other babies will stay in our rearing room until new homes are found.