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World’s Smallest Species of Crocodile Born at San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo welcomed eight West African dwarf crocodiles into the world Monday, marking the first such hatching of that species in the zoo's 101-year history.

The baby reptiles broke free from their eggs throughout the day at the zoo's Reptile House. Keepers assisted at least one in the hatching process.

Animal care staff originally took the eggs after they were laid in an outside exhibit and put them in an incubator at 86 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure their survival.

The species of crocodile is listed as "vulnerable" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species and closely researched by San Diego Zoo Global.

The hatchlings will not be viewable to the public until they are more mature.