Critically endangered electric blue geckos hatch at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Two tiny electric blue gecko have hatched at Bristol Zoo Gardens within 24 hours.
But it will be at least six months before they turn blue – if at all.
That is because only the boys turn the amazing electric blue colour, the girls remain green with copper tints.
The two new arrivals are less than 3 centimetres from the tips of their noses to the end of their tails and will only be 7 centimetres long when they are fully grown but they are crucial to the survival of their species.
The 180-year-old Zoo in Clifton Bristol Zoo has now successfully bred six of these tiny lizards.
The Zoo accepted seven adult electric blue geckos from a smuggled consignment of 165 seized by customs’ officers at Heathrow Airport in 2015.
In the wild electric blue geckos are found across only a few square kilometres of Tanzania and are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
They are targeted by illegal collectors who snatch them and sell them through the international pet trade.
They are also at risk from logging which damages the screw pine trees where they live.
The new geckos at Bristol Zoo hatched after being incubated for around two months at an average temperature of 25C.
Tim Skelton, curator of reptiles and amphibians at Bristol Zoo, said: “It’s another success and it is critical to the survival of the species.
“The ones we took from Heathrow were known to be from the wild and that is important because they are genetically pure.”
Mr Skelton said the two newly hatched geckos were already being fed tiny crickets and would grow to twice the size in a couple of months.
Bristol Zoo Gardens is a conservation and education charity and relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work in the zoo, but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.