Virginia Aquarium celebrates rare lizard birth

Posted at 10:33 AM, Sep 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-04 10:33:10-04

Virginia Beach, Va. – The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center celebrated the birth of four Javan Hump-Headed lizards (Gonocephalus chamaeleontinus) August 13, according to spokesperson Joan Barns.

The Virginia Aquarium has the largest collection of the unusual iguana species in the United States, with nine animals.

The birth of these animals brings the collection size to 13 animals.

The species is usually only found in the central forests of Java, and little is known about these shy and well-camouflaged reptiles.

“It is so important that we take advantage of an opportunity like this and make every attempt to reproduce these animals,” said Curator of Mammals & Herpetology, William “Chip” Harshaw. “So little is known about their status in the wild and the more success we have them in a facility such as ours, the more we can do to ensure their survival in the wild.”

Although mortality of such young animals is not uncommon, the births alone are a significant accomplishment, Barns says. The Aquarium will keep a close eye on the babies in a specially designed holding system until they are ready for a public appearance.