‘Holy Grail’ of lizard species born at Prague Zoo

PRAGUE, (Reuters) – Prague Zoo on Tuesday introduced five newly born earless monitor lizards as part of a European breeding program aimed at increasing the number of nocturnal reptiles rarely seen in the wild.

Called “the holy grail of herpetologists” by the global reptile community because so little is known about them, the ultra-rare lizards are native to the island of Borneo and are concentrated in lowland rainforests. near rivers.

They are rarely seen as they are only active at night.

Their unusual appearance, which makes them a target for the illegal wildlife trade, and their sensitivity to a stable temperature of 26–28 degrees Celsius (79–82°F) underscore the importance of captive breeding programs, zoo officials said.

“It is quite obvious that this is a species linked to the streams of the tropical forests and is therefore very threatened by the destruction of the rainforests of Borneo,” said Petr Velensky, curator. reptiles at Prague ZOO.

The zoo, known for its breeding of other rare animals, received a group of seven lizards in 2016 from an owner in Japan who, two years earlier, had first bred the reptiles in captivity.

The lizards, usually around 20 centimeters (7.87 inches) long, are not on display and zoo officials say several more eggs could hatch in the coming days.

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