Few American zoos have managed to breed the endangered species in captivity Memphis Zoo accomplishes rare feat three times in little more than a year

A Memphis zoo has made a remarkable and rare announcement: the captive birth of a baker's dozen of endangered Komodo dragons - and an amazing three more are on the way.

Thirteen of the carnivorous creatures reportedly hatched at the Memphis Zoo starting January 2.

An additional trio are said to be now pecking away at their potato-sized eggs in a bid to join the world.

'It certainly is significant, any institution that is producing dragons,' Rick Haeffner of the Denver Zoo told The Commercial Appeal in Memphis, Tennessee.

'For very many years, U.S. zoos had dragons but they weren't successfully reproduced until the early 90s.'

The births represent the third time the Memphis Zoo has successfully bred Komodo dragons in a little more than a year.

The Commercial Appeal reports that fewer than 20 U.S. zoos have bred Komodo dragons in captivity, and fewer than half that tiny number have succeeded in performing the trick at least twice.

The proud parents are reportedly Hollywood Jeff, a 15-year-old Komodo dragon who resided at the Memphis Zoo since 2005 and Norberta, a nine-year-old dragon who's been there for approximately the last five years.

The zoo lays claim to a third adult dragon, a 12-year-old male named Voltron, who has lived at facility since 2006.

'We've already got a list of other zoos that want Komodo dragons,' Chris Baker, assistant curator of reptiles for the Memphis Zoo told The Commercial Appeal.

'At this point, it's just a matter of making sure everyone's healthy, which they are. It'll depend on the duration of time before we ship. If they're going to hang out for two or three months, we may well get some on display.'

The Komodo dragon is indigenous to several Indonesian islands, and can grow to as much as 150 pounds in weight and 10 feet long.

The Komodo dragon is reportedly the largest-living species of lizard on the globe, and feasts on mammals, like deer, as well as birds and invertebrates. The lizard has been known to attack human beings in rare cases.

The newborns reportedly have a tough time ahead of them, as their very own mother might try to devour them if they aren't ready for action.

"They'll bite, first day out of the egg," Baker told The Commercial Appeal. 'She'll eat them if she can catch them. ... When they hatch out of the egg, they have to be ready to go right then.'


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