Do all snakes lay eggs? How do they lay eggs?

Do all snakes lay eggs? How do they lay eggs?

snake hatching from egg

Snakes are fascinating creatures, all the time with a brand new shock in retailer! Lots of individuals suppose snakes are all egg-layers. But actually, many snake species give delivery to dwell younger. There are additionally snakes who do lay eggs, however hatch the eggs inside their oviduct earlier than giving delivery to them.

Not all snakes lay eggs. Most do, however not all. There are three sorts of snake – oviparous, viviparous and ovoviviparous. Only oviparous snakes lay eggs. These account for 70% of snake species, so there’s a very good cause why most individuals assume all snakes lay eggs.

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The different two sorts of snakes – viviparous and ovoviviparous snakes do issues just a little in a different way. Viviparous snakes, corresponding to garter snakes and boa constrictors, give delivery to dwell younger fed nourishment by a placenta. Rattlesnakes, then again, are ovoviviparous. This means they maintain their eggs inside their our bodies till they hatch. Then they deposit the pre-hatched snakes into the true world. Fascinating stuff!

So, lets take a look at extra particulars of those 3 sorts of snake:

  1. Oviparous snakes: these account for roughly 70% of snake species. Examples embrace pythons, corn snakes and milk snakes. Many of those are well-liked pet snakes, and are present in a fantastic many houses within the United States.
  2. Viviparous snakes: these are rather less widespread. Garter snakes (well-liked pet snakes) and boa constrictors (not so well-liked) are viviparous. They give delivery to dwell infants.
  3. Ovoviviparous snakes: once more, these account for a smaller proportion of snake species. Examples embrace rattlesnakes, which undoubtedly aren’t widespread pet snakes. Ovoviviparous snakes maintain their eggs inside their our bodies till they hatch.

Viviparous snakes go away their offspring to fend for themselves as quickly as they’re born. How do they survive? And what number of eggs do oviparous snakes lay without delay? Where do they go to put their eggs, and the way lengthy does it take earlier than they hatch? You’re in the appropriate place to seek out out the solutions to those questions, and extra.

Which snakes lay eggs?

Egg-laying snakes are known as ‘oviparous’ snakes. These make up the best proportion of all dwelling snakes.

In oviparous snakes, the feminine produces undeveloped egg cells in her ovaries. After mating, a few of these eggs turn into fertilized. The fertilized eggs start the method of growth and progress within the oviduct. A protecting shell varieties across the eggs, making them appear like what we consider once we consider eggs.

The shell just isn’t laborious and brittle like a rooster egg although. It is mushy, and feels a bit like leather-based. Slowly, a yolk develops contained in the egg. This yolk, like in a rooster egg, nourishes the child snake whereas it’s rising.

A feminine snake is often pregnant, or ‘gravid’, for 4-6 weeks. When her time is up, she is going to discover a protected and safe place wherein to deposit her eggs. It is vital for her to seek out someplace secluded, hidden from potential predators. This is as a result of, for many snake species, as soon as the eggs are laid, the feminine doesn’t return to them.

Baby snake are ‘precocial’, which implies they’ll survive independently as quickly as they enter the world. They often hatch after roughly 2 months. They break freed from their eggs by chopping a small gap within the shell utilizing a specialised ‘egg tooth’.

The record of egg-laying, or ‘oviparous’ snakes consists of virtually the entire Colubridae household. For instance…

Milk snakes and kingsnakes

Members of the genus Lampropeltis, kingsnakes and milk snakes type half of a big household of oviparous snakes. Native to North, Central and South America, these two species are distinctive for his or her vivid coloured bands.

These snakes brumate over winter – this can be a course of many reptiles bear that’s just like hibernation, solely it entails shutting off fewer metabolic processes. Then they turn into energetic once more within the spring. They often mate when the climate warms up just a little, in late April or May.

Most milk snake species lay 5-20 eggs per clutch, sometimes 6 weeks after mating. The eggs sit for round 2 months earlier than hatching.

Rat snakes

Like milk snakes and kingsnakes, rat snakes are widespread within the United States, and are oviparous. There are many various species of rat snake, together with corn snakes and black (rat) snakes. They all have a lot in widespread.

Rat snakes additionally mate within the spring, after a interval of brumation. Female rat snakes are gravid for a month, and lay 10-20 eggs in a clutch. After 2 months, they eggs hatch and should fend for themselves instantly.

Hognose snakes

These cute, blunt-faced snakes are simply recognizable, and customary in lots of elements of the United States and Mexico. Hognose snakes are egg-layers. Like the aforementioned species, hognose snakes brumate over winter and mate in spring.

Again, like rat snakes, hognose females are pregnant for a few month, and lay on common 15-20 eggs per clutch. Hognose hatchlings break away from their shells after 6-8 weeks.


Pythons are discovered everywhere in the world: Australia, Asia, Africa, and in lots of houses within the United States. Among essentially the most recognizable are ball pythons, reticulated pythons, Burmese pythons and carpet pythons

What units them aside from the others on this record is that pythons don’t brumate over winter. This is as a result of they dwell in hotter climates. Brumation is triggered by a seasonal discount in temperature. In tropical rainforest, for instance, there isn’t a such seasonal change. For this cause, pythons have a tendency to put their eggs earlier within the yr: between February and April.

Ball pythons lay as much as a dozen eggs; reticulated pythons can lay as much as 80. With such a broad vary of snakes, there’s sure to be variation in clutch measurement!

Gopher snakes

Last however not least, the widespread gopher snake. This broad set consists of bull snakes and pine snakes. Despite resembling rattlesnakes, gopher snakes are non-venomous and largely innocent.

Gophers comply with the sample: they brumate over winter, mate in spring, lay as much as two dozen eggs in a clutch, and go away their eggs after laying. 7-10 weeks later, within the peak of summer season, the hatchlings emerge into the world.

Other examples embrace

  • Grass snakes
  • Bull snakes
  • And many others. Colubrids make up round two thirds of all snakes.

Many members of the Elapidae household of snakes are additionally oviparous, corresponding to…

  • Mambas
  • Cobras
  • Adders

How many eggs do snakes lay without delay?

There’s no cover-all reply for this. Different species lay totally different numbers of eggs. Even inside a species there could be variation. Some snakes lay heaps and many eggs, whereas others lay simply half a dozen in a single go. Here’s an instance…

Burmese pythons, native to Southeast Asia, reportedly lay as much as 80 eggs in a singular birthing interval. Ball pythons, then again, lay a lot fewer. Recognizable for his or her distinctive and variable colour morphs, ball pythons usually lay simply 5-7 eggs at a time. There are many elements that play into this distinction.

Here are some issues which will play into what number of eggs a snake wants to put.

  • If a snake lives in a harmful habitat, with many pure predators, it has to put extra eggs, as a result of they’re extra prone to get eaten. This may be the case if a snake is small, and can’t guard its eggs successfully.
  • Snakes which are much less threatened by predators want to put fewer eggs.
  • Snakes which have entry to notably good hiding locations – in bushes, caves or crevices, for instance – may have to provide fewer eggs.

Where do snakes go to put their eggs?

This relies upon vastly on the snake species, and the conceal spots its habitat has to supply. For instance, the kingsnake lives in an enormous vary of habitats. Kingsnakes are all oviparous, however totally different subspecies have entry to totally different habitat benefits. Here are a number of examples…

  • Desert kingsnakes, as you possibly can guess, occupy areas of semi-arid grassland, dry shrub-land and open desert with rocky outcroppings. In circumstances corresponding to these, their finest conceal spots to soundly deposit eggs are in nooks, stony crevices and below rocks. They may bury their eggs within the sand, the place they may go unseen till they hatch.
  • Californian kingsnakes dwell in forest and subject habitats. These snakes can make the most of the flora accessible to them. They lay their eggs below fallen bushes, buried in shrubbery and or hid amid clumps of moss.
  • In the jap elements of the United States, jap kingsnakes dwell in wetter climes, corresponding to rainforests, swamps and riverbanks. In these habitats, totally different conceal spots can be found to feminine snakes.

Do snakes bury their eggs?

Most snakes will bury their eggs underground in unfastened soil or sand, if potential. Such circumstances act as a pure incubator. The eggshells are mushy, and can’t stand up to a lot strain. Moss, grass, unfastened soil or sand all present a buffer zone and defend the eggs from the surface world.

Can snakes lay eggs with out mating first?

Yes, that is technically potential, however it’s fairly uncommon. Some species of snake can retailer sperm inside their our bodies. Rattlesnakes, for instance, can reportedly retailer sperm for as much as 5 years. In impact, this enables feminine rattlesnakes to fertilize their very own eggs, with out having mated in a really very long time.

Other snake species can truly produce viable eggs with out mating in any respect. In these circumstances, an unfertilized egg, containing solely the mom’s DNA, develops right into a wholesome hatchling. This is known as parthenogenesis, and is just finished by a number of snake species. One instance is the tiny Brahminy blind snake. In this species, each member is feminine, and infants are genetic clones of their moms.

If the feminine isn’t in a position to fertilize the eggs herself, they are going to be infertile. They is not going to grow to be child snakes. These unfertilized, infertile eggs are known as slugs. Even after mating with a virile male, a feminine’s clutch of eggs can comprise a number of of those ‘dangerous’, infertile eggs among the many viable ones.

How do snakes lay eggs?

Up till now we’ve solely been speaking about oviparous, or egg-laying, snakes. Now, this query applies to 2 of our snake sorts. Oviparous lay eggs by means of their cloaca – extra element on this beneath.

Ovoviviparous snakes, then again, are form of a cross between oviparous snakes and viviparous eggs. You can inform this as a result of the phrase ‘OVO-VIVI-parous’ is a mixture of OVI-parous and VIVI-parous. Ovoviviparous snakes hatch their eggs inside themselves proper earlier than giving delivery. So, in impact, they offer delivery to dwell younger.

Oviparous snakes lay their eggs within the following steps:

  1. As you realized earlier, the ovary releases an ovulated egg into the oviduct – particularly to a spot known as the infundibulum. Secretions from the oviduct coat the egg. It gestates.
  2. When the feminine is able to lay her eggs, the gestated eggs transfer from the uterus and out by means of the snake’s cloacal opening. The cloaca is, in some ways, a one-size-fits-all opening about two thirds of the way in which down a snake’s size. The cloaca serves many functions, one in all which is egg laying.
  3. For this to occur, the feminine snake has to make rhythmic muscle contractions.  Some pregnant snakes bask with their bellies up earlier than they lay eggs, in all probability to heat their reproductive tracts.
  4. The mom lays the eggs in a cluster, all in fast succession. They ought to clump collectively, due to the adhesive fluid that binds them. Accidental displacement threatens the survival of the hatchlings, so this adhesive goo is important.
  5. Most oviparous snakes will at this level abandon the eggs. Some snakes, corresponding to pythons, coil themselves round their eggs to guard them and maintain them heat.

Which snakes give delivery to dwell infants?

Approximately 30% of snakes give delivery to dwell younger. This consists of viviparous snakes and ovoviviparous snakes. Viviparous snakes develop their offspring internally with out the usage of eggs, nourishing them instantly from a placenta. Ovoviviparous snakes hatch their eggs inside them and instantly give delivery.

So, what are some examples? First, listed here are some ovoviviparous snakes.


The not-so-humble rattlesnake is a superb instance of an ovoviviparous snake. They produce eggs, however they don’t lay their eggs. Instead, as soon as their ova are fertilized, they continue to be within the oviduct till after they’ve hatched.

Rattlesnakes are sometimes pregnant for 3-5 months, giving delivery in late summer season. Keeping their eggs inside them in the course of the incubation interval ensures they’re protected from predators, and the weather.

The variety of snakes born throughout one birthing interval depends upon the species. It is commonly between 10 and 20. Baby rattlesnakes stick with their mom in her den for 7-10 days, then head out into the world.

Cottonmouths and copperhead snakes

Also not on many individuals’s pet record are cottonmouths (or water moccasins) and copperheads. These pit vipers are intently associated to rattlesnakes, and are discovered within the southeastern states.

Their similarities run deep – proper all the way down to their reproductive processes. One distinction between these two snakes and rattlesnakes is the variety of infants born in a single birthing interval. Cottonmouths often solely give delivery to 6-8 younger per litter; copperheads bear between 4 and 10.

Like the Brahminy blind snake talked about above, copperheads and cottonmouths can reproduce asexually. This means they don’t have to mate earlier than giving delivery. The course of is known as parthenogenesis, and ends in genetically an identical offspring to the mom.

Now, let’s transfer into the class of viviparous. These are totally different from ovoviviparous snakes, as a result of they don’t produce eggs in any respect.

Boa constrictors

During a 4-month being pregnant, a boa constrictor’s younger develop inside its oviducts. While a mean litter numbers between 12 and 20, boa constrictors have been recognized to put as many as 50 infants in a single litter.

They might not develop inside eggs, however child boa constrictors are every born inside mushy, clear membranes. These stop any points throughout cell growth.  Once they’re born, the infants often keep collectively for some time earlier than heading out into the world.

Garter snakes

Like boa constrictors, garter snakes are viviparous. Very widespread within the wild, garter snakes are innocent, small-to-medium sized snakes belonging to the genus Thamnophis.

Similar to boa constrictors, feminine garter snakes develop their infants encased inside skinny, mobile membranes – versus a calcified shell. There remains to be a yolk throughout the membrane, however creating infants get most of their vitamin from a placenta, which is related on to the mom.

Garter snakes may give delivery to anyplace between 3 and 80 infants at a time. Garter snakes are precocial, which implies they’re sufficiently developed to hunt for themselves as quickly as they’re born.

How do snakes give delivery?

Snake delivery is an astonishing spectacle. As it will possibly take up to some hours, feminine snakes retreat to a protected and secluded house earlier than giving delivery. They are stationery and susceptible in the course of the birthing course of, so you will need to be someplace quiet and cozy!

When the mom is prepared, she is going to start to delivery her child snakes. They will emerge from her cloaca – a passage which exits the physique on her underside, about two thirds of the way in which down her physique.

Depending on the species, she might ship one snake, as many as 40 (as with diamondback water snakes), and even as much as 100! The largest documented dwell litter was 156 child snakes, birthed by a puff adder. However, most litters are someplace between 10 and 30.

When do snakes lay eggs or give delivery? 

Unlike people, most animals have a tendency to breed in line with a selected rhythm. Oviparous snakes, for instance, brumate over winter and mate within the spring. Many different animals comply with an identical sample: hibernation is widespread amongst mammals, brumation amongst reptiles.

Some snakes give delivery twice a yr. Oviparous snake species often deposit one clutch per yr. Some produce two, and a smattering even produces three in a yr! An instance is the African home snake.

Mating season and frequency

The most typical mating months for snakes of every type are February, March, April and May. Snakes that brumate are likely to mate later, and provides delivery later in the summertime. Non-brumating snakes mate earlier, and provides delivery both in late spring (May-June) or early summer season (June-July).

How many occasions can a snake reproduce in its lifetime?

Snakes turn into sexually mature at an age that depends upon a number of things. There are roughly 3,000 snake species inhabiting divergent habitats internationally. There is sure to be variance.

On common, snakes attain sexual maturity after 2-3 years, so long as they’re wholesome. Burmese pythons take just a little longer, usually 4-5 years. Black rat snakes take even longer, generally requiring 7 years to succeed in maturity, and even 10 years within the case of females.

Once they’re energetic, snakes can reproduce till they expire. For some snakes, meaning 10 years of replica; for others, it means 30 years.


To conclude, most snakes lay eggs – a number of don’t. There are three sorts of snakes: oviparous, viviparous, and the midway home, ovoviviparous.

Have you continue to acquired any questions? Ask them within the feedback beneath! Have you bought any enjoyable information about snake replica? Share them within the feedback beneath! We all the time love listening to your facet of the story.

Share this with anybody who may discover it helpful. And good luck in all issues herpetological!

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