- Female companion of King Croc for over 20 years has laid 59 eggs, several of them ready to hatch over the incubation period of 80 days
- One of the world’s largest reptiles, King Croc made Dubai its home in June 2014
- Growing family highlights the conducive environment offered for the crocodiles at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo
- Visitors now have the opportunity to the watch the eggs being incubated at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo laboratory
Dubai, UAE; February 19, 2015: The King Croc family at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is growing. The female companion of King Croc, one of the world’s largest reptiles that took residence in Dubai in June 2014, has laid 59 eggs, several of which are ready to hatch over the incubation of period of 80 days.
At 80 years of age Queen Croc had a decreasing success rate in reproduction on the crocodile farm in Australia, where she has been the companion of King Croc for more than 20 years. King Croc is still young at 40 years but has shown no interest in any younger female companions in the past years. They arrived at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and have quickly adapted to their new home.
King Croc and Queen Croc have been busy preparing for the arrival of the baby crocs at their new home. The nest was built long before the eggs were laid. To ensure higher hatch rate, the eggs are now placed in an incubator at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo and will be returned to the nest immediately prior to hatching.
Visitors to Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo now have the rare opportunity to watch them prepare for their young ones, more so because King Croc has the unbeatable distinction of being one of the world’s largest reptiles and nature’s rare phenomenon. Those who opt for a back-of-the-house tour can also watch the eggs being incubated at the Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo laboratory.
Maitha Al Dossari, Chief Executive Officer of Emaar Retail LLC, said: “Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo has been at the forefront in bringing innovative edutainment experiences for our visitors and providing vivid insights on aquatic animals to strengthen a culture of appreciation for our biodiversity. King Croc is already one of our star attractions and the expansion of its family will give unique perspectives on crocodiles to our visitors. We are delighted that King Croc and Queen Croc have adapted extremely well to their new home, and we look forward to the addition of baby crocs. Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo is already planning for accommodating them comfortably.”
King and Queen Croc had bred well together earlier but with the Queen getting older, their reproduction rate was slowing. At only 30 cm long and weighing 70 gms, the baby crocs will present a sharp contrast to the 5.1 metre long, 750 kg dad.
Typically, the breeding season of crocodiles is between November and March, with the female laying 40 to 60 eggs. Males patrol the stretches of water to protect their territory, while females build the nests for the babies. Highlighting the natural learning instincts of the species, these mounds are built at an elevation to protect the embryos from being flooding by water, as it is the main threat to them.
During the incubation period, the female crocodile becomes defensive and guards her eggs, and are on alert for the chirping noise that the babies make as they are ready to hatch. It takes about 80 days for the eggs to hatch although not all of them will develop into embryos.
After hatching, she continues to help the baby crocs to reach the water and sometimes carries them in her mouth to assist the little ones. They will continue to keep a watch on the babies, which are born with white teeth and have an early diet of insects, small fish and crustaceans.
King Croc and his companion are now one of the most-visited attractions at Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo. Equivalent to the weight of over 15 fully-grown men, King Croc has the potential to grow even bigger in the next 50 years of his expected lifespan. Its bite force is estimated to be about 3,700 pounds per square inch – the highest bite for by any animal. Its head alone weighs over 150 kg. The 60 razor-sharp teeth are the size of an average index finger.
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, approved by the UAE Ministry of Education for school visits as part of the curriculum, has introduced a dedicated educational programme on crocodiles for students.
Dubai Aquarium & Underwater Zoo, managed by Emaar Retail LLC, features a 270-degree walkthrough tunnel. Underwater Zoo, located on Level 2 above the main aquarium tank, presents the bio-diversity in different ecological zones including Rainforest, Rocky Shore and Living Ocean. Apart from Humboldt Penguins and Caiman Crocodiles, the animals featured here include Piranhas, Giant Spider Crabs, Small Claw Otters, Sea Jellies and Clown fish. For further information, visit www.thedubaiaquarium.com or call 04 448 5200.