When zookeepers took on the mission of moving 60 alligator eggs, their first challenge was to avoid the wrath of mom.
Ally, an alligator measuring more than 11 feet, surprised keepers at the Australian Reptile Park near Sydney earlier this week by laying a record-breaking 60 eggs overnight.
“That’s the record,” the zoo’s general manager, Tim Faulkner, said in a statement. “Biggest catch of eggs.”
It broke her own previous record of 52 eggs, which she laid last year.
But because alligators are native to swamps and wetlands, Ally’s eggs are in danger of not hatching in Australia’s hotter climate, where temperatures reach more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
In order to save her eggs, zookeepers set out on a plan to re-home them in an incubator.
Faulkner said keepers were prepared to encounter a reluctant mom.
“We firstly must get past the aggressive female guarding their nests – they will get agitated by our approach,” he explained. “If we set a foot wrong, they will go for us, making it a very dangerous procedure.”
When it came to restraining Ally, eight wranglers jumped in to keep the mother alligator subdued.
Taking the eggs from the lagoon, which is filled with 40 adult alligators, also protects her babies from cannibalism, Faulkner said.
”One of the biggest predators to alligators is alligators,” Faulkner said. “With 40 predators in there, they wouldn’t last very long."
Thankfully they succeeded in removing Ally's eggs. They have been taken to the incubator and will hatch after about 70 days.