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Nashville Zoo Successfully Breeds Rare Species

Nashville Zoo’s Herpetology team is celebrating the half-birthdays of four Central American Giant Galliwasp (Diploglossus monotropis) born in August of 2016, marking the first hatching in over 10 years at the Zoo. Nashville Zoo is the only zoo in the United States to have successfully bred this rare species.

Our female galliwasp (pronounced “GALL-ee-wasp”) made a nest chamber underground to coil around her 4 eggs to instinctually protect them from predators. She did not emerge from the chamber for food or water for more than two months.

If the nesting chamber is disturbed in any way, the female will destroy the eggs to prevent predators from getting them. “This makes checking on the condition of the eggs extremely challenging,” said Herpetology Keeper Matt Martino. “Because we couldn’t risk checking on the female or the eggs, we patiently watched for any signs of life - either babies emerging from the nest or movement from the adult female. It was an exciting relief to see the hatchlings and mother start emerging after more than two months of waiting.”

This species is rarely seen in the wild and extremely uncommon in Zoo collections because captive breeding has proven to be extremely difficult for this species and successful breeding techniques are still being developed. However, Nashville Zoo staff may have finally broken the code for reliably reproducing Central American Giant Galliwasps. The Zoo’s herpetology team is continually learning and researching the best husbandry and breeding practices to increase zoo populations and are working towards conservation initiatives for several galliwasp species facing extinction in the wild.

Posted by Nashville Zoo at 10:26 AM


2/15/2017 at 02:12 PM by Laurie

Very exciting! Congrats on your accomplishment. I think a lot has changed since last summer so I'm looking forward to visiting soon with my grandkids.

2/15/2017 at 02:19 PM by Susie

That's great good job can't wait to see them this summer when we vist

2/15/2017 at 03:58 PM by Connie

Gosh, she is beautiful. Great to have more of these in the world!

2/15/2017 at 04:01 PM by connie w.

How beautiful. I wish I could see a picture of mom with her babies.

2/15/2017 at 06:43 PM by Suzanne Barrett Justis

That is so cool. Congrats on your Galliwasp clutch! That's indeed amazing.

2/16/2017 at 06:15 AM by Brenda Sue Collins

Thank you so much for everything that all of you do to bring new exhibits to our great Zoo! It is such a joy to be able to see all the Zoo has to offer us. I love it all of course, but I really do love the reptiles, fish and the great way you have them on display. I always want only the best environment for the animals. Lots of room and friends of their own kind to interact with. I was so glad to see the Bigger animals get larger areas, especially the tigers. I will always support the fairness and well being of all the animals at the always growing Zoo. If just keeps getter better and that's because all of you work so hard to accomplish that. Bless all of you for the hard work and love you put into making the Zoo so awesome for us all. I'm truly just a Big Kid at heart that loves animals and now I get to see some of the most unique live and sometimes up close. Thank you

2/16/2017 at 02:04 PM by Jeff&julie

Great job guys!! We will have to visit soon.

2/17/2017 at 09:50 AM by Phil Witman

As Gomer Pyle would say "gollllllllll-y. Great work!

2/20/2017 at 08:51 AM by Mark

Wow, such a beautiful creature! Can't believe you guys really outdid yourself, from the whole crew of http://dissertationwritingservices.org/ - thank you!

2/21/2017 at 12:50 PM by Amy W

What a patient Mom! And a long wait for the Herpetology team! Congratulations!

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