Don’t look now, but baby crocodiles might be UNEXPECTEDLY ADORABLE. And the best part of this video, from Cuba’s Sabanalamar animal nursery, is that these babies represent new hope for a vulnerable species. Cuban researchers at the nursery are using specially designed incubators to hatch American crocodiles, helping to save the species from extinction.
The Sabanalamar nursery has been raising American crocodiles since 1986. By housing crocodile eggs in a special incubator rather than leaving the ova to hatch in the wild, researchers get better hatching rates. Plus, here’s the really cool part: By keeping the incubators at a consistent 31 to 32 degrees C (88 to 90 degrees F) for the duration of the animals’ 90-day gestation period, scientists can actually ensure that 75 percent of the crocs will be born female. Lady crocs are more valuable than males because they can reproduce and boost the formerly endangered crocodiles’ population numbers.
The innovative incubators helped make this past year an all-time record-breaker for American crocodiles: Hatching rates at Sabanalamar increased from 30 percent to 61 percent, with 761 crocs born last year. About 1,000 adult American crocodiles are now waiting to be released into the wild. Now if we can just keep them away from New York sewers and Steve Irwin imitators, we’ll be golden.