Most snakes are not what you’d call doting parents. Since they don’t usually stick around to see them born, where do snakes lay their eggs? It is important to keep eggs safe to ensure survival. How does a mother snake keep babies alive when she probably won’t be there to see them hatch. Cobras and pythons stay near their eggs, but most other snakes get back to their life as soon as they lay. There are many good options for incubating eggs, such as underground or in the warm sand. It depends on the snake and its habitat. However, snakes lay eggs on the ground. How do you know if you’ve stumbled on a snake nest? What should you do if you find them in your yard? I will teach you everything you need to know about baby snakes, so you understand what to look for, where, and how to handle it.
Where do snakes lay their eggs? Snakes lay their eggs on or under the ground. Doing this helps eggs incubate properly. Warm sand and soil is the best place to keep snake eggs safe until they are ready to go out into the world. You will often find snake eggs in shallow indents to keep them all together.
How Do You Know When a Snake is Going to Lay Eggs
Snake gestation typically lasts around twenty-eight to forty-five days, depending on the species. If you have a pregnant snake, you need to know where and when snakes will lay their eggs. It’s also crucial to confirm that your pet is gravid.
So long as you are sure your snake is healthy, you can opt to wait. Sometimes just watching to see if they pass a lump inside as poop is enough to tell you the snake will have babies. Typically, it takes two to seven days for most species to poop after a meal.
Naturally, if the lump goes away and you have to clean their tank, then your snake wasn’t pregnant. If the lump stays beyond a week, it’s eggs. Luckily, there are other ways to determine if your pet is going to lay eggs as well.
It is important to keep an eye on your gravid snake to make sure she stays healthy. Egg binding can be a medical emergency according to Rick Axelson, DVM. The list below offers several options for determining whether a snake is about to lay eggs so you can keep your breeding pet healthy.
How to Tell If A Snake Is Pregnant
There are quite a few easy indicators of a pregnant snake. Once you’ve seen a few snake mothers, you will learn to pick up the cues very quickly. The six signs and options below will help you figure it out. However, you can always confirm their status with a professional breeder or vet.
- Thicker In The Middle- When snakes eat, they have a pronounced lump that travels down their body as they digest. However, a pregnant snake will have a lump near the uterus and cloaca that doesn’t move down the body and pass.
- Exposed Belly Sunbathing- Most snakes bask in the light with their bellies down in a normal position. If your snake rolls over to expose that underbelly to the light and warmth, she may be getting ready to lay a clutch.
- Attitude Issues- You know your pet as well as anyone can. If they are showing other signs of pregnancy and their behavior changes, this is a good indicator. Expect defensive behavior from a pregnant snake. Most of the time, your pet will go back to her normal attitude shortly after laying.
- Colorful Cues- Some snakes like pythons can change color slightly during their reproductive cycle. This can happen at other stages, so it’s not a perfect test. However, if you have a snake with a lump in its body and a color change but otherwise healthy, you may have a gravid snake.
- Lack of Appetite- Snakes don’t have a whole lot of room in their slender bodies. A noticeable lack of appetite is one of the common signs of a pregnant snake. Feed snakes well before breeding to prevent weight loss. Then, offer smaller portions during gestation.
- Ask Your Vet- A veterinarian may be able to determine by feel or x-ray and confirm that you have a pregnant snake. If you’re not sure, always go to the pros for answers.
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What To Do if You Find Snake Eggs In Your Yard
Snake eggs mean having a ton of baby snakes roaming around, but what if you find them in the yard? Now that you know where a snake will lay eggs, you can eliminate some concerns. For example, if those eggs are in a tree or a woody nest area that has sticks and twigs, you don’t have snakes at all.
If the nest has hatched and the eggs are all broken, you cannot do a lot. Of course, if you live in an area where coral snakes, rattlesnakes, or other dangerous species are common, you may want to call animal control. After all, no one needs a literal nest of vipers in their home.
Once you’ve determined that these are snake eggs, it would be good to identify the species. If you’re lucky enough to catch the mother slithering away this step is a lot easier. If you can’t easily figure it out, you need an expert.
Likewise, when you intend to let them hatch, leave the eggs alone. Snake eggs in nature will do fine without interference. These creatures have lived on earth for millennia and they don’t require assistance to continue doing so in the same way they always have.
Experienced snake breeders may want to take the babies in and keep them. This is okay if you have a lot of snake knowledge and appropriate facilities. Still, unless the nest is in danger, and you have an incubator to go with the advanced skills, let it be.
For those who have no, or very little snake handling experience, this is a terrible idea. Not only can wild snakes be dangerous to you, especially if you don’t know the species, but they can carry diseases. Leave the eggs alone unless you plan to get rid of them.
Getting Rid of Wild Snake Eggs In Your Yard
There are two obvious solutions for a nest of snake eggs in the yard. First, please note that messing with wild snake eggs yourself is not the answer. Stomping, crushing, relocating, and otherwise messing around with those eggs is a bad idea.
You can always call an expert. It’s not usually hard to find someone in the phonebook or online who deals with snake nests. Both snake experts and wildlife trappers offer these services frequently. Make a few phone calls and schedule as soon as possible to avoid accidentally hatching a nest of mystery snakes near your home.
You can also opt to get ahold of your county’s animal control center. They should have resources and personnel to handle snake nests.
What Time of the Year Do Snakes Lay Eggs
As important as where snakes lay their eggs is when to expect them. Though some snakes give live birth, all snakes have their babies around the same time of year. You might think these reptiles have springtime clutches since so many other animals have early in the year babies, but you’d be wrong.
Snakes tend to lay their eggs, so they hatch in the late summer and autumn seasons. You will see many more snakes during the hot and cooling season than the rest of the year as a result. By waiting until later, small yet predatory snakes can take full advantage of other species young, which make for smaller prey items and are easier to catch than mature adults.
What Do Snake Eggs Look Like
Not all snake eggs look the same. Just as not all snakes lay their eggs in the same place, where and what you’ll find depends on the breed of snake. More importantly, snake eggs are not the texture you’d expect.
Chickens and other birds lay hard-shelled eggs that feel like rock or ceramic. Snakes, on the other hand, have leathery textured eggs. If you push on a snake egg, it will have some give to it. However, I do not recommend poking at snake nests for safety reasons.
Most snake eggs are oblong. These can resemble either bird eggs in shape or more extended in the middle with rounded ends. North and South American snakes usually have these bird-like egg shapes. Additionally, a few species lay bumpy eggs that look like a fat grain of rice.
Do All Snakes Lay Eggs
When you’re trying to figure out where a snake will lay its’ eggs, it helps to understand whether it will lay eggs at all. Obviously, a male snake won’t lay, but some female snakes give live birth as well. Babies will show up around the same time as snake eggs hatch, regardless of the delivery method.
There are over three thousand snake species according to Britannica, and they live everywhere on earth except Antarctica. The smallest snakes, String Snakes, don’t even reach four inches long at maturity. Meanwhile, the largest living snake is a reticulated python over twenty-five feet long.
As a result of their diversity, different subspecies have developed their own methods of delivering young. A good example of non-egg laying snakes includes rattlesnakes, copperheads, and the water moccasin. Rather than leaving eggs out in the sand or soil to hatch on their own, these species retain their eggs inside the body.
These live-birth-giving snakes are known as Viviparous and Ovoviviparous. The eggs of Oviviparous types stay in the body until the babies are born, while Viviparous snakes have an internal yolk sack and placenta. Furthermore, about thirty percent of all snakes are among these live-birth varieties.
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How Many Eggs Do Snakes Lay
The number of eggs in a snake clutch depends on the species. Wherever your local snakes prefer to lay their eggs, the clutch size can vary wildly. Deadly Coral snakes have the smallest clutches with as few as two.
Average snakes lay between six and thirty eggs across most species. However, there are some overachievers in the snake world as well. Pythons can lay eighty or even a hundred eggs. Luckily snakes only produce one clutch per year on average, and less than one in ten species can seriously injure or kill a human.
Snakes lay their eggs wherever it’s convenient and safe in nature. If you have pet snakes, you’ll find them together in your reptile cage, often in a dip or indent where it’s convenient. However, most snakes don’t require a nest or other obvious home for their eggs, but if you breed them, make sure there’s a nest box in their habitat.
Only cobras and pythons stick around for their babies. Other species choose a nice warm spot in the soil to lay a whole clutch of eggs together. Often, they will lay large batches of eggs all at once so more of them are likely to make it long enough to hatch. Keeping them in a group and warm will also help the babies have a higher chance of survival.
Some snakes give live birth, but it’s rare. Typically snake mothers lay their eggs and then consider the job done, so baby snakes are born with all the instincts and self-sufficient skills they need to survive.