Virgin Crocodile Gets Pregnant After Living On Her Own For 16 Years

In a zoo in Costa Rica , a virgin crocodile has shocked experts by becoming pregnant on her own.

Experts were astonished when a virgin crocodile in a Costa Rican zoo managed to become pregnant without any male involvement. This remarkable occurrence took place when an 18-year-old American crocodile laid an egg that contained a fully developed baby that was 99.9% genetically identical to herself.

The fact that this crocodile had been living in solitude for 16 years without ever mating made this discovery even more astounding. While instances of “virgin birth” have been observed in certain bird, fish, and reptile species, it had never been documented in crocodiles before. The American crocodile in question was captured at the age of two in 2002 and housed in an enclosure in Costa Rica, where she lived independently for the subsequent 16 years.

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In January 2018, zookeepers discovered a clutch of 14 eggs in the enclosure. Although none of these eggs hatched, one of them contained a fully developed fetus. Unfortunately, the fetus was stillborn, but its development was complete, and it did not emerge from the egg.

“It is not uncommon for captive reptiles to lay clutches of eggs, given the period of isolation from mates, these would normally be considered non-viable and discarded.

“These findings, therefore, suggest that eggs should be assessed for potential viability when males are absent,” the scientists say in their research paper.

It continued: “Furthermore, given that (virgin births) can occur in the presence of potential mates, instances of this may be missed when reproduction occurs in females co-habited with males”.

Genetic analysis of the tissues from the foetus’s heart and from the mother’s shed skin confirmed that the genetic match to the female croc and that the offspring had no father.

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