WASHINGTON – Smithsonian officials say five critically endangered Cuban crocodiles have hatched at the National Zoo's Reptile Discovery Center.
Officials said Wednesday that the crocodiles hatched between July 29 and Aug. 7. Officials say the crocodiles' mother, Dorothy, laid 24 eggs May 12, and 10 were fertile. Officials say those were moved to an incubator, and half of the eggs developed during the entire gestation period.
Officials say crocodile embryos develop into a male or female crocodiles depending on the incubating temperature of the eggs. Keepers kept the eggs at a temperature range to hatch males as part of a survival plan for the species, but it is too early to definitively determine the crocodiles' sex.
Cuban crocodiles are found only in two swamps in Cuba.