It is hard to imagine a small blue whale or a small African elephant.
But even the world’s largest and most dangerous creatures start out as babies.
After months of waiting, six baby Komodo dragons hatched from their eggs at ZooTampa, according to a Sept. 13 Facebook post.
The baby reptiles are now just 10 inches long, but in a few short years they will reach up to 10 feet and weigh 200 pounds, securing their place as the world’s largest lizard.
The three female dragons and three male dragons emerged from their shells on Aug. 21, zoo staff told WFLA, after nine months of incubation with parents Aanjay, 13, and Titus, 12.
“These first additions to the zoo are a big win for conservation,” Dan Costell, associate curator of herpetology at ZooTampa, told the outlet. “It’s been a long process, and we’re excited that these additions to an important endangered species are finally here.”
Komodo dragons are native to the Sunda Islands region of Indonesia, according to the IUCN Red List. They are listed as an endangered species.
They have a nasty bite with serrated teeth and venom, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. The dragons will rip and tear the skin by shaking their heads after sinking their teeth into an animal, then release venom from a gland in their lower jaw that prevents the prey’s blood from clotting and causes shock , says the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.
While attacks on humans are rare, they do happen and can be fatal, Smithsonian Magazine reported.
There are an estimated 1,383 adult dragons left in the wild, IUCN says, making the hatching of six new babies monumental.
“The new baby Komodo dragons will adapt and grow behind the scenes before meeting the public later this fall,” the zoo said on Facebook.
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