VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Aquarium’s freshwater crocodile Sommer recently laid 19 eggs, which were just excavated last week and placed in incubators.

The 16-year-old Tomistoma (the actual scientific name for the long, narrow-snouted crocodile native to Malaysia and Indonesia) has shared an exhibit with male crocodile Ralf since 2015.

Sommer has laid eggs before, in 2019 and 2020, but none of the eggs were viable. The aquarium’s husbandry team are hoping for better outcomes this time, as Sommer’s species is at high risk of extinction.

Mackenzie W. DiNardo, public relations manager at the aquarium, says “hatching success is highly variable and influenced by many factors both biologically and environmentally.”

The latest clutch will be monitored for about 80 to 120 days, and if the eggs fully develop the hatchlings will stay at the aquarium for about a year, likely behind the scenes.

In the meantime, the aquarium will work with Tomistoma Species Survival Plan partners to find caretakers for the young crocs.