USARK - United States Association of Reptile Keepers
Reptile enthusiast becomes the UK’s first person to successfully breed an endangered dragon - beating a number of zoos that are also trying:
A reptile enthusiast has become the UK’s first person to successfully breed an endangered dragon, beating a number of zoos to the accolade.
The male Hydrosaurus Pustulatus, also known as a Philippine Sailfin dragon, hatched last month and the birth was watched on the web worldwide.
Lisa Watson, who has been breeding reptiles for 14 years, purposely bred the lizard, which is extremely rare in captivity and it is unusual for the creatures to hatch outside of the Philippines.
'I saw an image of a female Philippine Sailfin dragon and she captured my attention and became my dream reptile.
'I then found a male in Germany and had the perfect breeding pair.'
Expecting the dragons to take up to a year to mate, the spiked, fan-tailed reptiles surprised Watson when the male mounted the female within just one month.
'I just let them get on with it,' she said.
'A couple of months later, the female hatched her eggs.
“Hydrosaurus pustulatus has been bred occasionally in the U.S. as well as on the European continent where I found my male, but this is now the first to be born and bred in the UK.'
Parents, Albert Hoffman and Skin, and their hatchling Hellraiser, all have free run of Watson’s lounge and live on a diet of insects, fruit and vegetables.
Watson, who also has over 100 exotic pets including snakes and scorpions, said: 'They are all eating and doing well.
I’m expecting some more later this month, before a third clutch is due to arrive in September.
'Albert Hoffman is getting frisky again but Skin is giving him the cold shoulder.'
The Sailfin dragons, who have no maternal instincts, can grow to around five feet given the right space.
As they grow, their skin undergoes a full change as females mature into a gold metallic colour, while males are a sapphire blue.
Watson, a mum-of-three, said there were only a handful of lizard breeders in the UK.
She added that none of them knew of the Philippine Sailfin Dragons having been bred in the UK.
'They require a lot of mental stimulation as they are very intelligent.
'They even know where I keep the food now!
'They can get quite aggressive but generally they are quite relaxed, and each have their own personality.
'I treat them as I would any other pet and the children absolutely love my hobby.
'They are living in their own zoo and everybody’s favourite friends as they also get up close to the reptiles.
'It’s very theraputic to be able to handle them at home.
'It’s not just about housework - I’m pottering with them and cleaning the tanks.'
Philippine Sailfin lizards live near rivers in the tropical forests of the Philippines.
They have flattened toes that enable them to run across water.
In the wild the reptiles have been known to grow up to five feet long.
Breeding in captivity has only been successful in the minority of cases because Sailfin females traditionally have no maternal instincts.
Photo and story via www.mailonline.com