70% of all the snake species lay eggs, while 30% give birth to their young ones.
Those snakes which lay eggs fall under the category of oviparous, while the rest belong to the ovoviviparous group. Simply put, the eggs of these snakes are incubated in the female’s body. Boas, garter snakes, and rattlesnakes, are some examples of the snakes of this group. Kingsnakes, pine snakes, pythons, and milk snakes are some of those snakes that lay eggs. Some snakes stay with the eggs till they hatch, while many are known to abandon the eggs after laying them.
A female snake lays about 1 to 100 eggs at a time. They are laid in dark places and digs under loose soil. They are oblong in shape and may be white, off-white, or beige in color. High temperatures help in their incubation. Their appearance, number, and incubation period is different for different species.
Here, we take you through some facts about snake eggs and tips to identify them.
Snakes living in colder areas mate in the late spring or early summer. Those in tropical areas mate any time of the year. Some snake breeds reproduce once in a year, while others reproduce once in three years.
Generally, they look for dips in the earth to lay eggs.
If the mother snake does not find any warm dips to lay her eggs, she may lay them anywhere, in which case, they are left to die.
Depending on the breed of the snake, they lay approximately six to hundred eggs, at a time. Most snake species abandon the eggs, once laid.
Some female snakes naturally incubate the eggs by brooding around them. They not only brood over the eggs, but also shiver to give heat to them.
Generally, the probability of snake eggs to die is high, and that’s because their shell is leathery, and not tough.
Turning and rolling over these eggs can injure or kill the embryo inside.
The time required for the snake egg to hatch, differs with its breed. But most snake eggs hatch in around 60 days.
As the baby inside the egg grows, the egg also grows in size. The eggs become oval in shape when they are close to hatching.
As compared to bird eggs, snake eggs are oblong. As against bird eggs that are hard, snake eggs are soft.
The clutches (a group of all eggs laid at a time) of snake eggs are larger than those of birds.
The baby snake breaks the egg shell with its egg tooth. This tooth falls off once the baby comes out of the shell.
Gently feel the cover of the egg. If the shell is hard and tough, then it is not snake’s. Snake eggs have a leathery and soft cover.
Slowly carry the egg into a dark room and hold the egg against a light source (like a torch or a small bulb). After holding the egg against light, check for the shadow of a ball-shaped embryo.
A round-shaped embryo indicates that the egg is of a snake.
Another way is to get the egg checked by a local pest control center. They will not only confirm if it is a snake egg or not, but also identify the snake’s breed.
If you happen to spot snake eggs, contact the right authorities to ensure their safety. Remember, they are delicate. Rough handling can damage the eggs.