ZOO Wroclaw Rare venomous lizard babies

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Rare venomous lizard babies

2021-04-16
Rare venomous lizard babies

Incredible mexican beaded lizard.

At the end of February, Mexican beaded lizards hatched in the Terrarium Pavilion of the Wrocław zoo. It is significant because these venomous lizards live only in 76 zoos around the world. Within the last 12 months, only 4 individuals hatched. Meanwhile, they are threatened with extinction in nature.

Our female Mexican beaded lizard laid two eggs in August 2020. The eggs were placed in the incubator in the restricted area of the Terrarium. They hatched six months later.

This is our second brood. In 2016 we raised three Mexican beaded lizards. In 2018 they were transferred to the Singapore Zoo.

- This species is difficult to breed. It is challenging to facilitate reproduction. And we did it again! - says Magda Fabiszewska-Jerzmańska, the zookeeper from the Wrocław zoo.

The babies live in the backroom and they are thriving. They already know how to hiss at their caregivers when they do not like something. In this species the differences between the sexes are not obvious, so a few months will pass before we know the sex of the young.

Meanwhile, our adult Mexican beaded lizards can be viewed on the ground floor of the Terrarium pavilion, in the large terrarium past the Australian dragons, but before the northern caiman lizard.

Dangerous superstitions

There are superstitions in Mexico about the beaded lizard. It is believed to be more venomous than the rattlesnake or to cause lightning strikes with its tail. Another myth advises pregnant women not to look at the lizard because doing so may harm their unborn children. Although none of this is true, the beaded lizard is still subject to mass extermination. As a result, we often hear that the species should be protected before it disappears from nature. Meanwhile, for the last 15 years, it has been listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as Least Concern.

- Just as the legislation does not keep pace with technological advances, we do not keep up with the extinction of species. Today, many of them are listed as Least Concern, although the last field research was conducted 15-20 years ago. Meanwhile, local biologists sound the alarm that they cannot see certain species for weeks or months. This is the case with the Mexican beaded lizard. Fortunately, this species is covered by the EAZA Breeding Programme, so it will be preserved, says Radosław Ratajszczak, president of the Wrocław zoo.

The honesty of Mother Nature

The Mexican beaded lizard does not have an impressive appearance - it has a stocky body, a flat, wide head, small eyes, and a short tail that serves as a storage site for fat. Its skin is covered in characteristic small, beaded scales called osteoderms. The scales contain small bits of bone and cover the head, the back, the legs, and the tail giving the lizard its armor. Distinctive yellow spots are scattered along the body and serve as a warning: "Beware! I am dangerous."

- Mother Nature is very honest. Look at all the venomous species. Nature has endowed them with warning signs such as coloration, pattern, or sound. However, venom serves animals only for two purposes - to obtain food or to defend themselves. Therefore, do not be afraid of them, but carefully observe and keep an appropriate distance not to provoke an attack. All living organisms are needed, even the venomous ones - emphasizes the president of the zoo.

Beaded lizards use their venom for defense. It means they attack only in critical situations, especially against predators such as coyotes. It is worth noting that even then, before using the venom, they warn the attacker by hissing loudly and assuming a threatening posture, clearly communicating their intention to strike.

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