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Rare lizard breeds for first time
Zookeeper Ruth Smith poses with a rare baby Bell's anglehead lizard that has hatched at Chester Zoo (Matt Cook/Chester Zoo/PA)
One of the world's rarest lizards has been bred in the UK for the first time.
The tiny Bell's anglehead lizard is native to south east Asia and Indonesia, although very little else is known about the elusive creatures.
Keepers at Chester Zoo said they are "absolutely thrilled" by the new arrival.
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.
"Run an internet search on them and you'll find that hardly any reliable information comes up - they're that data-deficient.
"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."
The breeding of this rare lizard will allow the opportunity to study the lizards, giving insight into the complex ways they reproduce. These discoveries can be vital to the conservation of not just the Bell's anglehead but also other similar species in the wild.
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.