The alligator capital of the world, Gatorland recently welcomed 19 Nile crocodile hatchlings, the first set of hatchlings born at the park in more than two years.
“All appear to be extremely healthy and they will certainly enhance and increase the Nile crocodile population we currently have in the park, which is 10,” said Gatorland Park Director Mike Hileman.
The incubation period of Nile crocodile eggs lasts approximately 90 days. Gatorland officials keep the temperature of the incubator at precisely 90 degrees to ensure an equal division of sexes.
“Any hotter and the hatchlings would be born primarily male; any cooler and we would end up with mostly female hatchlings,” Hileman added.
Gatorland currently has a population of 32 crocodiles ranging from Caimans to Cubans, Niles and American and African Dwarf crocodiles. Hunted close to extinction in the 1940s through 1960s, local and international protections have helped Nile crocodiles rebound in most areas. Crocodiles have roamed the earth since the age of dinosaurs and have changed little in the past several million years.
In approximately one to two months, Gatorland’s Nile babies will be transferred to several small aquariums throughout the park for the public’s viewing pleasure. In captivity, adult Niles can grow up to 20-feet in length, weigh up to 1,000 pounds and can live up to 80 years.
For more information on Gatorland, visit Gatorland.com.