In a Slovenian cave only accessible by an underground train, scientists are eagerly awaiting the rare hatching of more than 57 “baby dragon” eggs.
The “baby dragons” aren’t really dragons, but olms — ancient, blind salamanders that resemble the mythological creature, according to biologist Sašo Weldt, who studies the amphibians at Postojna Cave in Slovenia.
Though olms have existed for at least 15 million years, Slovenians first documented seeing them in the middle of the 17th century, when they apparently washed up from underground rivers after heavy rains, Weldt told ABC News.
“People had never seen it and didn’t know what it was,” he said. “During the winter time, clouds of fog often rose from the cave, so they came up with stories of a dragon breathing fire from the cave, and they thought the olms were its babies.”
Though olms don’t breathe fire nor grow to gargantuan sizes, they do have several “unusual attributes and features” that make them quite fascinating creatures, Weldt said.
“They’re believed to be able to live 100 years or longer, and they can survive without food for up to 10 years,” he explained. “They have transparent white skin that also covers their eyes, but they don’t need to see. They have incredible sense of smell and hearing and can detect detect light and electrical or magnetic fields.”
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SOURCE: ABC News, Avianne Tan