In a much rare event, which could occur only once in a decade, several hundreds of people gathered inside the Postojna cave to watch the hatching of baby salamanders, which are rare aquatic creatures resembles dragons from the Chinese stories. Postojna Cave is an ancient cave located in Slovenia.
According to the biologists, the ancient underwater salamander species, also known as olm, breeds once in a decade and the species can live up to 100 years. Due to the efforts of scientists, this rare phenomenon was caught live on camera.
According to the team at Postojna cave, these rare, serpentine bodied, amphibian species could lay 500 eggs and only 2 baby salamanders out of those eggs manages to hatch successfully. As of now, there are 60 eggs laid in the cave and the team expect to see around 23 healthy baby olms in the following weeks.
The team reports:
“Our first baby dragon managed to shoot into life in a single attempt. This is one of the reasons why the infrared camera footage is invaluable both for biologists and the general public; in fact, olm hatching has never been filmed before.”
“Right now it looks like three eggs are good candidates,” Saso Weldt, a biologist working at the cave, told the BBC yesterday. “She started laying eggs on 30 January. She is still laying one or two eggs per day, and they need something like 120 days till they hatch.”
These endangered species usually found in the caves of Balkan rivers. One of the most famous is the Postojna cave, situated 30 miles southwest of Slovenia’s capital Ljubljana.
The breeding phenomenon has attracted many tourists because it is one of the few ever human-controlled environments with the purpose of supporting the breed of such a rare dragon-like species. According to the local stories, many people were afraid to go near the cave because they believed that the real fire-breathing dragons lived inside the cave. But, now the baby dragons have become the main interest for tourists and locals as well.
Earlier in 1689, a Slovenian researcher named Janez Vajkard Valvasor first described the creature as a baby dragon in a book The Glory of the Duchy of Carniola. He said that salamanders were tiny, baby dragons that would one day get washed into the sea, where they’d fully mature and spend the rest of their lives under Earth’s crust.
According to the reports, these “dragon” olms could live up to 10 years without any food. Olms are blind animals with acute sensory receptors for movement and smell which help them to hunt for prey in the dark, like crabs and snails. These sensors will also help them to avoid any potential intruders as well.
This is not the first attempt by scientists in the recent years. In 2013, biologists tried to hatch babies out of laid eggs in the Postojna cave, unfortunately, none of them fertilized in that attempt. This time, there were 64 eggs laid by the “Dragon Mum” and around 23 of those eggs survived so far. Scientists actively measured their heart beats and functional gills inside the egg through the infrared cameras and equipments.
Watch the hatching of Baby Dragons in this video: