UK
18/09/2013 13:56 BST | Updated 18/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Bell's Anglehead Lizard Bred In The UK For The First Time

A mysterious lizard, described by experts as "a real underdog," has been bred in the UK for the first time.

The arrival of the tiny Bell's anglehead, one of the world's rarest lizards, has left keepers at Chester Zoo "absolutely thrilled."

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The finger-sized youngster will be cared for in a behind-the-scenes rearing facility

Very little is actually known about the elusive creatures, except that they are native to south east Asia and Indonesia.

Herpetology keeper Ruth Smith said: "In many ways the Bell's anglehead lizard is a real underdog.

"Very, very little is known about them and to reptile experts they are a complete mystery."

There is hardly any reliable information available on the "data-deficient" creatures, she added, sharing her excitement over the opportunity to study the enigmatic lizards.

"What we can be sure about, though, is that this is the very first time the species has hatched in a zoo in the UK and possibly even Europe. So we're absolutely thrilled with our new arrival," she said.

lizard

Very little is known about the elusive creatures

In a crucial step towards their conservation, the breeding of the rare lizard will allow the opportunity to study them, giving insight into the complex ways they reproduce.

The reptile's hatching has already provided new information on the species, according to Ms Smith, who said: "We now know that their incubation period is between 151 and 155 days and they double in size in the month after they hatch."

The finger-sized youngster will be cared for in a behind-the-scenes rearing facility until it is old enough to join the conservation breeding programme for the species.

Chester Zoo has also achieved breeding successes with several other threatened lizard species, including sand lizards and the Utilia spiny-tailed iguana.