Dragon lays Easter egg

Spring is definitely in the air at The Living Rainforest.

Animals at the Berkshire eco-centre – including free-ranging reptiles, birds and butterflies – are busily laying eggs in anticipation of warmer weather.

Visitors and staff have observed a Chinese or Asian Water Dragon (Physignathus cocincinus) digging a hole near the main pond. Chinese Water Dragons spend most of their time in trees above the banks of small freshwater lakes or streams. If threatened, they drop down into the water and swim away or remain submerged for up to 25 minutes. Males can grow up to 3 feet in length (2 feet for females) and eat a main diet of insects, supplemented with occasional small mammals, fish or other reptiles.

But water dragons are not the only animals getting into the spring-time spirit.

Animal keepers have noticed a distinct change in behaviour in the bird population. They anticipate that more ‘Easter eggs’ may soon be laid by the Ringed Teal (South America), Roul-roul Partridges (South-east Asia) and Mouse-birds (Southern and Eastern Africa).

The Roul-roul Partridges (Rollulus roulroul) are building nests. The distinctively-crested Roul-rouls live on the forest floor in large groups of up to 40 birds, and spend the day foraging for fruits, seeds and insects. Five to six eggs are laid at a time and incubation lasts about 18-19 days. Chicks stay with their mother during the first week and with their parents for a further three months.

The butterflies are also doing their bit, laying caterpillar eggs on leaves and bark around the rainforest. And more tortoises and turtles are being caught ‘on walk-about’ outside their enclosures, which suggests that their spring urges are being expressed through their feet!

The mood may just be a little crazy but it’s also fun and educational. The staff at Living Rainforest want to share the special spirit of spring with lots of visitors this Easter.

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This entry was posted on Friday, April 3rd, 2009 at 2:04 pm and is filed under Blog, Living Rainforest Blog.

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