It’s hard to imagine a small blue whale or a little African elephant.
But even the world’s largest and most dangerous creatures start as babies.
After months of waiting, six baby Komodo dragons hatched from their eggs at ZooTampa, according to a Facebook post on Sept. 13.
The baby reptiles are just 10 inches long now, but in a few short years they will reach up to 10 feet and weigh 200 pounds, securing their spot as the world’s largest lizard.
The three female dragons and three male dragons emerged from their shells on Aug. 21, zoo staff told WFLA, after nine months of incubation with parents Aanjay, 13, and Titus, 12.
“These first-time additions at the zoo are a big win for conservation,” Dan Costell, associate curator of herpetology at ZooTampa, told the outlet. “It was a long process, and we are excited that these additions to a key endangered species are finally here.”
Komodo dragons are native to the Sunda island region of Indonesia, according to the IUCN Red List. They are listed as an endangered species.
They have a nasty bite with serrated teeth and venom, according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institute. The dragons will rip and tear skin by shaking their heads after plunging their teeth into an animal, then release venom from a gland in their bottom jaw that prevents the prey’s blood from clotting and induces shock, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo says.
While attacks on humans are rare, they do happen and can be fatal, Smithsonian Magazine reported.
There are an estimated 1,383 adult dragons left in the wild, IUCN says, making the hatching of six new babies monumental.
“The new baby Komodo dragons will be behind the scenes adapting and growing before meeting the public later this fall,” the zoo said on Facebook.