Rare 'Baby Dragon' Eggs Spotted In Slovenian Cave
They're some of the strangest animals in the world and soon there might be one more of them.
The blind cave salamander known as the olm was first described over 300 years ago, when Central European villagers still believed the creatures to be baby dragons that had been washed from their mothers' dens, but eggs of the elusive amphibian have never been found in the wild.
Last month, however, a tour guide at Postojna Cave in Slovenia noticed that a female olm in the underground aquarium had laid an egg.
That the olm was laying eggs at all was a surprise: The bizarre creatures are believed to have a lifespan of over 100 years and can live for up to a decade without eating, but only reproduce once every six or seven years.
"It is very significant because there is not a lot of data [about] the reproduction of this group of animals," Croatian biologist Dušan Jelić told the BBC. "In the wild, we never find eggs or larvae. They are probably hidden within some very specific localities within the cave systems."
Since then, the female olm has laid around 50 more eggs and several reportedly show signs of growth.
"It is rare and it is exciting," Sašo Weldt, a biologist at Postojna Cave, told The New York Times. "We are hoping that in a couple of months we can state that we have baby dragons."