A type of alligator has been bred along the Jurassic coast of Britain for the first time in about 30 million years, a breeder said today. Two tiny Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman - a type of alligator - have already hatched and nine more viable eggs are on their way in Dorchester, Dorset.
Reptile expert Jerry Cole said: "Fossil records indicate it's about 30 million years since they were last breeding along the Jurassic coast in Dorset, give or take a few million years. I'm also probably the first private person to breed the crocodilians in the UK."
The 10 inch babies are being fed goldfish and insects to help them grow up to 1.5 metres, when they will feast on rodents. Their natural habitat is the Amazon, and Mr. Cole, of BJ Herp Supplies, plans to keep a couple, with the rest going to zoos and specialist private collectors.
"The babies are miniature versions of the adults, able to do everything from the moment they hatch," said Mr. Cole. "They could give you quite a nasty nip." Mr. Cole has one male and two females, including the mother. He was also the first breeder in the UK to hatch Fiji banded iguanas, earlier this year.
The Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman, Latin name Paleosuchus palpebrosus, is a crocodilian reptile from South America. It is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Surinam and Venezuela. It is also the smallest species of the alligatoridae family, reaching up to 1.5 meters long.