ZSL London Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a trio of tiny lizards – the first of their kind to ever be born in a UK zoo.
Hatching three weeks ago, the striking-looking spiny-headed tree lizards (Plica plica) measured a tiny two inches long and weighed just 2.5g when they first emerged from their eggs.
Keepers had been hoping that the adult pair of South-American lizards would breed, and were delighted when they found eggs in the adult enclosure on their morning rounds. The eggs were quickly moved to the incubation room – referred to as the ‘maternity wing’ of the Reptile House - in the hope that they were fertile.
After six weeks of keeping a close eye on the eggs, the zoo’s team of herpetologists were thrilled to find three miniature lizards in the enclosure.
Named Uno, Dos and Tres, in recognition of their native South America, the hatchlings won’t be sexed until they’re older as both male and female spiny headed tree lizards have identical markings, and don’t develop distinguishable features until they reach adulthood.
Team leader of ZSL London Zoo’s Reptile House, Ben Tapley said: “To say we’re pleased about the new arrivals is a complete understatement; they signify a huge success for the team here at the Zoo.
“The eggs had to be incubated in very precise conditions, and took about six weeks to hatch; we’ve been keeping a close eye on them since.
“Perfect miniatures of their parents, they are remarkable to look at, with a bold pattern all over their body and rusty-red coloured heads.
“We’ll be able to share the information we’ve learned from the process of hatching these with zoos around the world, to help others to breed these beautiful animals.”