By Lauren Augustine
Our Chinese alligator built a large mound nest! She is using hay provided by keepers a few weeks ago. When we checked on her this morning she seemed to be guarding the nest. Because she is aggressively defending her nest, two keepers entered the exhibit to retrieve the eggs. One keeper distracted the protective mother while the other examined the nest and began to look for eggs. After about 5 minutes of looking we uncovered 24 eggs nestled in a cavity right next to a small tree in the nest. Each egg was numbered and removed from the nest. The female approached us several times during the egg removal, but she was gently discouraged by keeper staff for safety.
The Chinese alligators haven't laid eggs for two years, so this was a pleasant surprise for all the Reptile Discovery Center keepers. The eggs were weighed and measured before being placed in an incubator.
It's possible we could have a new Chinese alligator(s) in the not-too-distant future! Stay tuned to hear about more crocodilian news at the Zoo and potential hatchlings!