Sunday, July 14, 2013

babes in crocland

This may take the edge off of my disappointment in not getting to see the orchid in my garden bloom (snapping the cycle of life).  We have babies.  Animal babies.

About this time last year, I discovered -- quite by accident, and almost to my cost -- that there were baby crocodiles in the pond (weeding high; babies afloat).  It was fun watching them grow.

Unfortunately, late last July, I headed off to the Mexican highlands before I could see the young get very large.  This year, I will have another chance.

Last April, there was a good deal of loud splashing in the pond.  The large male was out there doing his best to impress the female.  She then started to hang around the pond more frequently.  In the past couple of weeks, she has been there every night.  Always in the same place.

I now know why.  She was guarding her nest.  And Saturday night was baby night in the delivery room.

My usual routine is to check on her presence around midnight.  She was there.  But there was also a giant hole she had just dug to expose her hatching eggs.

The chirping of her babies was quite distinct.  But I could not see anything other than one egg near her snout -- and the giant male waiting in the water at the end of her tail.  Dad was in the delivery room.

Landlady Christine came over to witness the births.  We determined the mother was taking each hatchling in her mouth -- almost like a mother cat with kittens -- and depositing them on the bank in an area with better protection for her young.  Mama Croc will now start a long wait guarding them as they grow.

I would have stayed longer.  But I did not want to frighten either of them in their hatching duties.  After all, I will undoubtedly see the youngsters on their first outings in the laguna on Sunday.

That also means that boys with sticks will soon be showing up to snag a baby to sell for a few pesos.

So, enjoy this natal moment.  Because I will be boring you with plenty of baby photographs in the next few days. 

I hope.

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