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Crocodile skink birth a first at Fort Wayne Children's Zoo

Thursday, March 13, 2014 - 7:18 am

As baby animals go, when describing it you may not go right to cute.

But staff at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo are excited about the Feb. 10 birth of a 2-inch crocodile skink because it is the first time that lizard has ever hatched at the zoo.

The skink, which is doing well, eventually could grow to about 8 inches long and weigh 1 pound, a zoo news release said.

In the wild, crocodile skinks live in moist areas along waterways in New Guinea in Southeast Asia, the news release said. They are one of the few lizards that can make sounds. They eat a wide variety of insects, its says on the Cincinnati Zoo website, http://cincinnatizoo.org.

Scientists know little else about them, however, because they are secretive, the Fort Wayne zoo news release said.

The baby was a surprise for zookeepers, the news release said.

Late last year, they discovered the zoo's two crocodile skinks had an egg in their exhibit in the Indonesian Rain Forest area, the news release said. Zookeeper Dave Messman disturbed the egg accidentally while cleaning the aquarium that houses the two skinks.

“We were concerned about the disturbance," Messman said in the news release. "It's best practice to avoid moving a reptile egg.”

Disturbing the egg can cause the air pocket inside to shift, possibly suffocating the embryo in the egg, the news release said.

Zookeepers decided to incubate the egg by placing it in a deli tub filled with wet moss, the news release said. They incubated the egg at room temperature and made sure it remained undisturbed. The baby hatched after 60 days.

Zookeepers don't know yet if it is a boy or girl, the news release said.