Snake reproduction | How do snakes reproduce?
The snake is a cold-blooded 🥶 animal that is a reptile. Indeed, with a spinal column, its body temperature in particular, and its body is covered with scales. With a way of life following the seasons, it is evident that the reproduction of snakes is relatively detailed. It is one of the subjects of the herpetologist. It's challenging to match two snakes, the probability of meeting remains very low. To increase the chances of reproduction, snakes can delay fertilization after mating, because the females can store sperm. Most species are oviparous 🥚, some are ovoviviparous, with the incubation of the eggs taking place inside the mother's body (as in humans). Do you want to get a couple of snakes and have beautiful little snakes? Read the following laws that will show you that nothing is easy in this world.
A) Advice for you snake fans
1) Defining the sex of a snake is not easy. Did you buy a couple of snakes and not two snakes, i.e., two males or two females? Nothing is more complicated than to define the sex of a snake, you can discover the anatomy of these creatures on our blog, sometimes even for professionals. You have to avoid as many mistakes as possible to prevent an unpleasant surprise 😲. For example, you realize that your pretty python has suddenly become a beautiful male and vice versa.
2) The compatibility of couples is also a complicated story. They may have preferences and despise the partner proposed to them. If one wants to, the other may not be receptive at that moment (the importance of reciprocity). It can also take years before you realize that your relationship is not working for you (too bad).
3) Not all the eggs 🥚 laid will give birth to young (another problem); not all the young will survive. It's a bit like the obstacle course. Some are natural, and you can't do anything about it, but don't necessarily forgive yourself because you may not have made many mistakes. Raising snakes is tough.
4) Snakes escape and will always do anything for them (It's a bunch of egotists). Especially the small ones in huge numbers. It's not nice to find one crushed under the carpet in the middle of the living room, or your toilet bowl, or even less so in the neighbor's toilet. You may never find all your little ones 😡.
5) Avoid problems in the house; if you have children or if one of your family lives with you, it will be challenging to convince them to share the place with a creature 🐍 that has always been a source of fear for humans. So prepare your arguments because you will need them.
B) Let's now get to the heart of the matter, the reproduction of a male and a female snake!
Some species mate several times with the same partner, but in most cases, the male leaves after mating to look for other females (polygamy). The female can also mate with several males to give birth to children of different origins. The mating period is precisely after the hibernation period ❄️, i.e., winter. Spring is the perfect time for snakes to reproduce. When they are found, the snakes hold each other, then the male crawls along the female's back, pokes his tongue, and twists his way forward. If she is receptive, she may have convulsions before raising her tail for copulation to take place. The copulation often lasts several minutes, even several hours (depending on the male).
1) How are the partners chosen ⚔️?
As in many species, the males will fight for the best female, the two rivals stand up and intertwine the front parts of their bodies, trying to turn on the ground. We have several species that respect this rule: mambas, most vipers, and the northernmost rattlesnakes.
2) How does fertilization work?
In some cases, fertilization will take place shortly after delivery. The spermatozoa are stored in the oviduct of the female, after the injection of these motile cells into the male. Some species, which have a brief period of activity due to climatic conditions 🌡️, may mate one year and produce their young the following year. The young can be born in two types of climates, one complimentary in a stable seasonal system and the other during a period when food is not abundant, unlike the former.
3) Controlled fertilization
The intelligence of the female in this matter makes this animal species the only one able to decide when she wants to bear a child. Indeed, fertilization can take place immediately after mating if the female judges the right time (She choose). Conversely, she may decide to make a reserve of spermatozoa in her oviducts, which are provided for this purpose. It stores what it needs and then prepares at the right time. This practice is mostly carried out by species that have a short mating season and will therefore take advantage of it to mate a certain number of times before proceeding to fertilization (So she mustn't miss.)
. In all cases, the female ensures that the children will not be born during the hibernation period because they would not be able to survive the cold 😥.
4) Oviparous snakes
Most species lay eggs that, left at the mercy of the climate, develop better in a warm environment: oviparous species are found more in tropical or subtropical 🌴 regions. The place where the female will lay her eggs is essential, so the mother will try to find the place with stable conditions. Some species dig in sandy soil or build an incubation chamber under a rock.
The mother's preferred materials are wood and dead leaves. Both materials have good insulating properties, and they are easy to dig and retain moisture. The eggs need a moist place because their soft and permeable shell can absorb water and oxygen during the development of the embryo. What a female can lay ranges from 1 to 100, so it is very variable. Once the snakes have laid their eggs, they are no longer interested in them, except pythons, which huddle around their eggs during incubation, cobras, and a few other species, which stay nearby to guard their eggs.
- Natural incubation
For anyone who wants to have a snake, here's how to provide the best incubation experience. Place some dry sphagnum foam, which will be used to surround the eggs. The place will have to be sufficient for the mother, the foam, and the eggs. A temperature of 32°C 🌡️ must be maintained precisely throughout the incubation period. A basin of water must be kept even if it is not used anymore. The difficulty is to maintain a hygrometry close to 100 % during all the duration of the incubation, that is to say approximately 50 days. This is why the refuge must be placed in another one put in vermiculite, still soaked with water. The vivarium should also be humidified 💦 four times a day during the two months. Sometimes some eggs will be rejected from the nest and will have to be artificially incubated. They are probably not fertile, but one never knows? The mother may leave the nest to go drinking, but will soon return quickly.
- Artificial Incubation
Artificial incubation is easier. A box containing 2 cm of a mixture of sand, moss, and vermiculite soaked in water prepared a few days before the female lays. This box must keep a temperature of 32°C. The eggs must be removed from the mother once applied, which can be difficult because she can be aggressive. The eggs will be "buried" and covered with dry moss. The humidity will have to be 100%, which can be obtained by adding a bowl of water in the shelter. Condensation should appear on the wall of the hut. If the eggs wilt slightly, water must be added. Never moisten the eggs directly. When the babies are born, each one of them must be placed in a separate box with a capacity of about one liter. Each one must contain a refuge, a basin, and branches. The temperature must be kept at 28°C. The first molt must be waited one week before feeding the young. Feeding newborns can be difficult, some can accept pink mice, but most do not. It is then necessary to force them to provide.
5) Ovoviviparous snakes
For this type of snake, the young will form in the body of the mother 🤰. The placenta does not feed them as in mammals, which are viviparous, but the incubation of the eggs takes place in the oviducts. Unlike other snakes, this snake is protected by a membrane and not a shell. The female can accelerate the development of the young by exposing herself to the sun ☀️. Aquatic species, especially marine snakes, are ovoviviparous, as they are mostly aquatic like many tree snakes, which prevents them from descending to the ground.
In the majority of cases, ovoviviparous snakes give birth in an isolated area, usually in warm weather. Although whelping sometimes takes place outdoors, it has rarely been observed in the wild.
Native to India and Southeast Asia, the common typhoons, is the only parthenogenetic species (with only females). The mature snake lays fertile eggs without having mated. All these eggs give females, which are clones of their mother. In general, parthenogenetic species are very prolific for some time, but in the long term, they lack the variability that would allow them to adapt to changing conditions.
When the egg has reached maturity (Sexual maturity), the snake inside manages to pierce the shell thanks to a hatching tooth provided for this purpose, which will disappear sometime later. It is located on its snout, and each baby knows how to use it innately, which then allows the snakes to continue to increase, especially since many females detach themselves from their eggs once laid. Incredibly fragile in the first days, it will, however, need outside help to survive, so it remains close to the hatching site to find food and enjoy the heat. Heating and UV light can be installed by the people who carry outbreeding. For venomous snakes, it is essential to know that they can create venom from the day they are born 😱.
C) Join The Vipers House community
We have just given you the points to be able to have snakes at home and to be able to manage a reproduction quietly. And the least we can say is that breeding snakes but especially to allow mating between two individuals is not an easy matter. Our conclusion: NO, do not be afraid, these snakes may be a nuisance, but there is one thing we can assure you is that you will not regret it.
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Snake reproduction summary...
Now you know that snakes have a complicated reproduction. Several factors must be the: To define the sex of a snake, compatibility of the couples, All the eggs 🥚 laid will not give birth, To avoid the problems in the house... NO, we are not trying to scare you. That's why we have presented you all the process of reproduction until the incubation (artificial or natural) to arrive at the hatching of the egg finally. If you are a fan of snakes, then you probably liked all this information about these creatures.