By Lauren Augustine
Remember those really important eggs we got back in May from Dorothy our 57-year-old Cuban crocodile? Well, we are now about half way through incubation. Five of the ten eggs are continuing to develop. We track development through a process called candling, this involves taking a bright light and placing it against the egg shell. This light illuminates the egg revealing blood vessels and even the embryo later in development. We can also see the progression of the band. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, developing crocodilian eggs will form an opaque band around the width of the egg. As development continues the band expands the length of the egg. One way to track development without candling, is to track the expansion of the band externally. We candle eggs here at RDC often to help us understand the developmental process and to keep an extra close eye on Dorothy's eggs. Dorothy is older and her reproductive output has slowed, but we're not exactly sure why. When she does lay clutches of eggs they rarely make it through incubation. RDC is working to determine what causes that, but for now we work diligently to provide the best possible care for Dorothy. As we continue to track the development of Dorothy's eggs, we will hopefully see the embryos continue to develop, until no light shines though. This tells us that the embryo is almost fully developed and will hatch soon!