The first olm hatched from its egg at Postojna Cave. “Every life is a miracle,” was the first response to the happy occasion from the staff of Postojna Cave, when exactly four months to day after the olm mum laid its first egg in the aquarium they got their first offspring.
Photo: Postojna Cave
“Despite the fact that both science and the previous experience of the researchers gave us practically no chance that the cave aquarium could ever see the complete drama of the egg hatching unfold in front of our eyes, we kept believing. We took care of the offspring hour after hour, we monitored the eggs, linked scientific findings to our own observations. Often we found ourselves confused, yet we had to make decisions nobody had made before. Everything was new. The olm is simply too great of a mystery, mainly because it lives its mysterious life in the deeps of the caves in darkness, completely hidden from mankind. In nature, according to statistical assumptions, only two young successfully develop from 500 hatched eggs. But our hope and desire to do everything in our power were stronger than the inexperience and the unknown,” they added.
The story is far from over. There are twenty-two more eggs from which little cave dragons could hatch. Sixty-four eggs were laid in total. The staff continue to monitor carefully which egg will hatch the next offspring. Will this one, too, literally »shoot out« of the capsule and swim through the aquarium, then settle down at the bottom as the first one did? This was also a complete surprise because the scarce sources that exist regarding the Proteus write about the hatching as the multiple efforts of the embryo to penetrate the capsule. Postojna’s first little dragon literally »shot out« into life, in one single try. This is why the infrared camera shots create a priceless heritage as much for the biologists as the public since the hatching of a Proteus has never been recorded before.