Baby incubator is helping bring reptiles into the world

Just two months ago this incubator was helping to save the lives of premature babies at Bristol’s St Michael’s Hospital.

Now it’s playing a vital role in bringing tiny lizards and crocodiles into the world at Bristol Zoo Gardens.

St Michael’s had taken the 15-year-old incubator out of service six weeks ago and placed it in store.

But when Bristol Zoo got in touch after one of its incubators used in its reptile house broke down St Michael’s offered to pass it on.

A few days later the incubator was set up and working at the 180-year-old Zoo.

Bridget Robbins, neonatal technician at St Michael’s, said:  “Over the years this incubator must have saved the lives of hundreds of babies but it has now been superseded by better incubators. We are really glad that it’s now helping tiny reptiles.”

Tim Skelton, curator of reptiles and amphibians at Bristol Zoo, said: “We are really grateful to St Michael’s.  These incubators, although designed for humans, work very well for certain reptile species that need high incubation temperatures of around 30C.

“We have hatched numerous crocodiles, monitor lizards, pythons, pancake tortoises and many other species in former hospital incubators over the years.”

The incubator currently has some pancake tortoise eggs in it which are expected to hatch around Easter.

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.


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