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Keepers Discover 10 Slender-Snouted Crocodile Eggs on World Croc Day

While it's unlikely they're fertile, it's a good indication that the female is comfortable in her home here at the ABQ BioPark.

June 18, 2021 - June 17 was World Croc Day, and ABQ BioPark reptile staff made a surprising discovery—a clutch of 10 West African slender snouted crocodile eggs, laid by the Zoo’s 48-year-old female.

It is unlikely the eggs are fertile since she hasn’t been with a male for at least seven years. While it is possible for crocodilians to store sperm, it has only been observed seasonally in other species. Sperm storage has not been studied in this species, however. Nonetheless, staff are putting the eggs under an incubator while they collect data. If the eggs do hatch, it will be around early October.

The female was wild born in Liberia in the early 70s and has a prolific breeding history with her former mate at the Toledo Zoo, where she lived in the 90s. “Her genetics are well represented in the AZA population, and some of her offspring are currently in breeding situations,” says Keith Crow, zookeeper supervisor.

Even if the eggs are infertile, the fact that she laid them is a great indicator that she is comfortable in her home here at the ABQ BioPark. Crow says she has gotten more comfortable over the last few years because of her specially designed training program with keepers. He also commented on the excellent egg condition. “They are well formed and calcified perfectly,” he says.    

The West African slender-snouted crocodile is critically endangered in the wild. It is also regarded as one of the least known crocodilian species in the world. Since 2014, the ABQ BioPark has been actively engaged in this crocodile’s conservation through a partnership that started with Zoo National d'Abidjan in the Ivory Coast in 2014. Since then, the ABQ BioPark has sent teams at least once per year to help with breeding and healthcare in zoo populations, and fieldwork with other conservationists. Learn more about this program.