Rare 'Dragon Eggs' Hatch In Slovenian Cave

Posted: Jun 3 2016, 9:28pm CDT | by , Updated: Jun 3 2016, 10:43pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Rare 'Dragon Eggs' Hatch in Slovenian Cave
The first olm emerged on Monday. Credit: Postojna Cave

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This hatching is a very unique event since olms reproduce only once in 5 to 10 years.

Two rare baby salamanders have been finally hatched from so-called ‘dragon eggs’ after a four-month wait.

The pale, blind female salamander, known as olm, originally laid more than 50 eggs in famous Postojna Cave in Slovenia earlier this year but two of them have emerged from their eggs this week. The egg-hatching is an extremely rare event as those ghostly amphibians only reproduce once every ten years and thought to live 100 years or even longer. The tiny creatures can survive without food up to 10 years and can grow up to 8 to 12 inches.

Olms are confined to countries like Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. They don't have eyes but have an incredible sense of smell and hearing and can hunt their prey by detecting electric fields.

Given the olms 100-year lifespan and their ability to lay hundreds of eggs, an average of only two survive to become adults which makes the hatching of two olms even more special event. There are still nearly 20 viable eggs around there that could hatch.

“We took care of the eggs non-stop, observing them, connecting scientific findings with our own experience...We had to take decisions nobody had taken before. Everything was new.” Postojnska jama, the operator of the cave said in a statement.

The staff is taking special care of the newborn babies and the eggs that are expected to hatch within a few weeks. Larva will be provided natural environment for feeding on its own. The water of their aquarium will be changed regularly to avoid any infection and if there are multiple larvae, each will be given its own separate place to thrive and grow into adult.

The blind, ghostly salamanders hold a legendary status in the region. They were first documented in 17th century when the strange creatures were discovered by local Slovenians and described as the last descendants of dragons. This image has struck ever since and became the symbol of Slovenian natural heritage.

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