They aren’t the Game of Thrones or Puff the Magic varieties, but these “baby dragons” are wowing people around the world.
The endangered breed of blind salamanders known as olms, only reproduce every five to 10 years. But researchers in Slovenia have witnessed the eggs of the amphibians hatching in a Postojnska jama Cave-Grotte-Höhle – a caves that are popular tourist attractions.
“Rare blind olm (Proteus anguinus) laid eggs in Postojna Cave on January 30, 2016 and we are happy that after 4 long months of waiting, carefully monitoring and taking care of the embryos the first larva has hatched,” officials noted in their YouTube video of the May 30 birth.
Then, on June 3, a second of the mysterious creatures hatched.
The female olm started laying eggs in the aquarium of the cave in front of visitors in January. Within four months, 24 embryos were well developed and “practicing their dragon dance,” as researchers put it.
They also posted this video of the embryos rotating in their jellies.
But the odds are stacked against these babies.
Statistically, just two baby olms successfully hatch from 500 eggs in nature, according to scientists. So, they are asking everyone to keep their fingers crossed for these little guys.
But they also know how to survive. While the olm can gobble up huge quantities of food at once, it can also go without for a very long time. Olms can survive for up to 10 years without food. And, its lifespan has been pegged at 100 years.