Rare ‘Baby Dragons’ Hatch in Ancient Slovenian Cave
While Hiccup is busy training his Toothless and Khaleesi has just reunited with her son Drogon, real-life "baby dragons" have finally hatched in a cave in Slovenia - and it's sending the Slovenian public into a frenzy.
After a four-month wait, the so-called "baby dragons" have just hatched in the ancient Postojna Cave in Slovenia on Thursday.
These are not the scaly fire-breathing dragons from our favorite lore, though. They are a species of ghostly pale and blind aquatic salamanders known as olms, which are often referred to as dragons because of their long and slender bodies.
Olms only reproduce every five to 10 years and are said to live to 100 years.
"We got our first Baby dragon!" the Postojna Cave, which is a popular tourist attraction, has taken to Facebook to announce this rare and much-awaited event.
The olm eggs, fondly called "dragon eggs," started to appear in January this year in an aquarium in Postojna Cave.
According to BBC, there were originally 64 eggs laid by a single female over a period of several weeks. The first of the 23 developed eggs hatched on May 30. The rest of the eggs were unfertilized and decayed, or have died because of fungal infections.
On Wednesday night, a second baby olm was making its way out of the egg.
Saso Weldt and his colleagues who were studying the olms in the Postojna Cave, captured the moment on an infrared camera.
"I was in the cave doing some other biological work. Since we have all the eggs on an IR camera, we saw that one was missing. Then you rewind and suddenly you realize, something has happened," Weldt told BBC.
"It is the end of one part of the story and the beginning of a whole new chapter: feeding and living without the egg," he added.
The staff also noted that it is extremely rare to capture these births on film, as they either happen very quickly or they don't happen at all.
Also, the olm eggs in Postojna Cave are so far the only eggs that people can actually see. According to an article in Science Alert, no one has ever seen an olm egg in the wild.
The staff of Postojna are consulting amphibian experts with regard the proper caring and handling of the fragile olm eggs.
The subterranean rivers of the Balkans are home to these iconic animals. Dragons are legendary in this part of the country, and the olms were believed to be babies of the creature.