STATES CHRONICLE – No, Khaleesi’s dragons are not making babies in Slovenia, but a very rare animal, similar to the salamander has 55 eggs which are scheduled to hatch soon. The animal goes by the name of olm, and it is the only species of cave-adapted vertebrate in Europe. Olms can usually be found in Eastern Europe, in countries like Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia.
The olm lives underground and has developed characteristics suitable for such environments such as gills or lack of eyelids. The animal also has super hearing and can detect electric fields which also helps it hunt.
The olm can have a lifespan of up to a century, and it also has the amazing ability to survive without food for many years, even for a decade. This is why Slovenians have long thought of the olm as being a descendant of dragons.
According to a biologist, expert in cave amphibians, claims that Slovenians first recorded seeing the animal in the 17th century when, after heavy rains they were washed up to the surface. Because they have never seen the animal before, the people didn’t know what it was. Another reason they thought the tiny underground animal was a sort of dragon, it was because in the cold season fog was rising from the caves, and people came out with stories about dragons dwelling in the waves.
However, they were clearly wrong as the olm can grow up only seven to ten inches. They reproduce only once every six years, so scientists are very excited about the olm mother laying eggs in January.
The hatching might not happen for another four months, as they need warmer temperatures and the cave is still quite cold with a water temperature of 9 degrees. But, the good news is that since the eggs are translucent, biologists can watch the development of the “dragon” babies up close. So far they managed to see embryonic development and cell division, which in mortal terms means the babies are growing.
Keeping an eye on the eggs is essential not only because researchers want to see how the babies develop but also because otherwise the eggs would be eaten by other olms living in the cave.
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