NZ's first crocodiles hatch

MICHAEL FOX
Last updated 12:12 01/06/2011
John Selkrik

New Zealand's first home-hatched crocodiles have emerged in Auckland. By John Selkirk.

Crocodiles
Butterfly Creek
JAWS OF LIFE: One of the crocodiles that hatched at Butterfly Creek in Auckland this morning.

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New Zealand's first home-hatched crocodiles have emerged in Auckland.

The six saltwater crocs hatched at Butterfly Creek at 6am this morning from eggs brought over from Australia's Northern Territory.

Butterfly Creek general manager John Dowsett said after 80 days, it took the tiny reptiles more than 20 hours to fight their way out of their shells.

Staff watched as they pushed their bodies through the tiny openings, "accompanied by the odd chirp as the efforts increased", and helped them when stuck.

He was delighted with the new arrivals, which would not be on display for several weeks while a purpose-built exhibit was constructed.

"We are really proud of achieving these significant New Zealand firsts and very pleased that we can now provide our visitors with an even greater appreciation of these mighty creatures."

Two years ago, after three years of wrangling, Butterfly Creek landed New Zealand's first two saltwater crocs - Scar and Goldie. The pair weighed almost half a tonne each.

The arrival of the newborns "rounds things out nicely", Mr Dowsett said.

As well as crocs, Butterfly Creek is home to more than 750 butterflies, alligators and a number of tropical bird species.

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