UNWRAPPING A PRESENT

At times we get presents from the animals, most times these presents are rather unpleasant and not the topic of polite conversation.  However, at times they are quite exciting, and we can’t wait to find out what is inside.  I’m talking about eggs.  When one of our bird or reptiles lays an egg we take it over to our incubation room where we can maintain it at the proper temperature and humidity levels.  Our Dwarf Caiman at the zoo left us with 12 little wrapped presents this

 May and we were all excited to see what would become of them.  You can hold an egg up to a strong light source to get a peek at what is going on inside.  Using this technique many time you can see the developing embryo inside.  With our Dwarf Caiman eggs this year we checked again, and again, and again, but to no avail there did not appear to be any development taking place.  We still let the eggs go the full term of 90 days and then even a few weeks extra just in case before giving up.  We are quite curious here at the zoo though, so I took the eggs outside to open up and see if we could tell if any development had taken place.  The first egg opened was a quite unpleasant surprise, the second held something else entirely: a fully formed ready to hatch baby caiman! It ended up being the only egg that had developed that far but it was still a wonderful surprise and I think the cutest baby we had at the zoo this year! 

 

About Keith Sprague

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Keith has been a zookeeper at JBZ for four years.  

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