One of the recent hatchlings. / SUR

Three baby blue monitor lizards successfully hatched at Bioparc Fuengirola

Described as the most beautiful reptile in the world, the species has been classified as 'endangered' since 2014

SUR

Bioparc Fuengirola has successfully hatched a clutch of eggs of the endangered blue monitor lizard.

The good news comes after a controlled incubation by the wildlife centre’s herpetology team last week from the clutch of one of the two breeding groups housed in the park. These have become the third generation of blue monitor lizards that the team has managed to raise.

This exotic reptile has a peculiar and tiny horn at the end of its snout, known as the 'egg tooth', which is a small cranial protuberance used by the lizard hatchlings to break the eggshell. With this tooth the little reptiles tear or break the shell to make their way into the world. Once it has fulfilled its function, the tooth is reabsorbed and disappears.

Once hatched, the baby lizards live independently of their parents. "When they are born, they can go for days or even weeks without eating. During this period they feed on their own yolk, a substance generated inside the egg itself to nourish the embryo," said Milagros Robledo, head of the herpetology team at Bioparc Fuengirola.

"These little ones will be with us for a year, but after that they will be assigned to another European zoo," added Robledo.

Both the two breeding groups under the care of the Costa del Sol park, as well as these three new blue monitor lizards, are part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for this species.

Controlled incubation requires a complete recreation of what this process would be like in the species’ natural habitat. The eggs begin small in size and grow as the weeks go by in parallel with the growth of the reptiles inside the eggs and all this is monitored with an ovoscope.

The blue monitor lizard (Varanus macraei) lives on the small Indonesian island of Batanta. It was discovered by a German reptile importer and described as a new species in 2001. In 2014 it was assessed by the IUCN and has since been listed as 'endangered' on its Red List of threatened species.