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Nature & Environment

'Baby dragon' hatches out in Slovenia cave

By T.K. Randall
June 2, 2016 · Comment icon 14 comments



The olm spends its entire life in complete darkness. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Arne Hodalic
An extremely rare form of cave-dwelling salamander has emerged from its egg in Slovenia's Postojna cave.
Once believed to be real-life dragons, these peculiar creatures have adapted perfectly to living in complete darkness and have eked out an existence underground for millions of years.

With their long snake-like bodies, olms live and hunt exclusively in subterranean pools and rivers such as those found in Postojna cave around 30 miles southwest of Slovenia's capital Ljubljana.

Because they breed only once every decade, olm eggs are a rare spectacle indeed and given that only two out of every 500 eggs will actually hatch, witnessing a baby olm emerge is even rarer still.
This however was the sight that greeted a group of lucky visitors to Postojna cave this week as one of the eggs being carefully monitored there actually hatched out on Tuesday.

There is even a chance that more of the eggs could hatch out in the near future.

"Although both science and researchers' previous experience gave us almost zero chance that the drama unfolding in the cave aquarium before our very eyes would have a happy ending... we had faith it would happen," cave officials said in a statement.

Source: Seeker.com | Comments (14)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #5 Posted by Ozfactor 6 years ago
love this
Comment icon #6 Posted by GreenmansGod 6 years ago
I have seen those in aquarium shops. I find they don't live very long in captivity.
Comment icon #7 Posted by rashore 6 years ago
That's a seriously cute baby dragon
Comment icon #8 Posted by Nnicolette 6 years ago
I dont think its the same thing you saw greenmansgod. At first i thought that was the same fish i had in my fishtank too. It looks like a dinosaur†fish and although nearly idententical, dinosaur†fish are not a salamander that lives in the dark like this†its actually a really odd fish with hands that like to shake its food and walk along the bottom.
Comment icon #9 Posted by GreenmansGod 6 years ago
@Nnicolette†I looked at the the dinosaur fish, it†isn't what I saw. †It was the salamander and†I used to see them a lot. †It has been a while since my fish farming days and may have been a mexican variety that looks very close.†
Comment icon #10 Posted by Nnicolette 6 years ago
Well if they sell them in aquariums i think someone may have been exaggerating a bit about the baby dragon's rarity... @GreenmansGodDo you mean the mexican hex dinosaur fish? I would think it was a salamander too. Even more†similar to that "dragon"†then the kind i was referring to.
Comment icon #11 Posted by little_dreamer 6 years ago
It kind of looks like an axolotl. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axolotl
Comment icon #12 Posted by Still Waters 6 years ago
I've found a video, it's in this BBC link - The first hatchling olm, or proteus, emerged on Monday. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-36418545
Comment icon #13 Posted by Helen of Annoy 6 years ago
These particular baby dragons are endemic (and endangered) olms. Endemic means they are restricted to certain area, in their case itís South East European karst (limestone terrain). They are related to all other salamanders, but they are not the exact kind you see sold in aquariums. Of course, Iím not trying to say theyíre not similar or that endemic olms of Postojna are somehow better than other salamanders Iím just explaining why the birth of baby dragons is such good news for everyone interested in preservation of our karst, with its endemic flora and fauna. If karst waters were polluted, o... [More]
Comment icon #14 Posted by BeastieRunner 6 years ago
That's a really neat salamander.


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