Breeding reptiles is fun, especially when it is a snake. Earth is home to over 3600 snake species. With so many snakes it can be challenging to breed them.
Each snake species has a different breeding method. Some lay eggs inside the body while some produce a live baby. This article will help you correctly breed different snakes.
Unlike other reptiles, snake breeding is complex and requires a year depending on the species.
Initially, the snake is taken out of brumation, and male is stimulated for mating.
After that, male and female snakes are introduced to complete the breeding process. That is the first step for the snake of its life cycle.
At What Time Of The Year Do Snakes Have Babies?
Snake’s breeding season is activated through environmental factors like sunlight, food provision, temperature, etc.
Also, a female snake reproduces only when it is healthy.
Most female snakes mate in early spring after hibernation to provide newborns warm weather.
Snakes of tropical regions mate at any time of the year.
How Many Eggs Do Snakes Lay at a Time?
Usually, a snake produces its babies for different reasons. Viviparous and Ovoviviparous give birth to stay young.
Ovoviviparous does not expel its eggs and they are hatched inside their bodies.
Oviparous also known as egg-laying snakes make up the majority of snake species.
Oviparous snakes usually lay around 2 to 50 eggs in a clutch. Some snakes even lay up to 150 eggs at a time.
How Do Snakes Feed Their Young Ones?
Unlike other reptiles, snakes do not take care of their babies. Some snakes guard their eggs till they hatch. While some snakes wait for their offspring to shed their egg skin.
Do Snakes Hatch From Eggs?
Yes, most of the snakes are Oviparous. Most snake reproduction happens in three ways.
Most of the snake species almost 70% of them are Oviparous.
Oviparous means snakes that lay eggs outside the female body. These snakes leave the eggs for incubation to keep the offsprings warm. These eggs are hatched within a time duration of 28-48 days.
A female snake lays eggs underground in the soil. Soil or sand acts as an incubator for the eggs. A female snake after laying their eggs abandons them.
- Rat Snakes, king snakes, grass snakes, Cobras, adders, Ball Python are some of the examples of Oviparous snakes.
- Ball Python and Cobra do not leave their eggs after laying them. King Cobra builds a nest for the eggs. Cobra also stays with its offspring for some time after they hatch.
- A female egg either leaves many or only a few eggs at a location.
- Not all Snakes Lay eggs, some give birth to live snakes. Rattlesnakes, vipers, boas, and sea snake species give live birth.
This is a reproductive method where snakes do not lay eggs at all. This method is similar to that of mammals or humans.
The viviparous species develop and nourish their babies through the placenta and a yolk sac.
- Only 30% of the snake species reproduce through this method.
- Green Anaconda and Boa Constrictors develop their young ones inside their body. In this stage of development, no eggs are involved.
This snake reproductive method is a combination of oviparous and viviparous.
In this method, the snake produces egg layers and gives birth to live young. Ovoviviparous snake species develop eggs inside the body.
When the eggs are born, the snake retains those eggs inside the body. The snakes allow their babies to hatch and emerge out fully formed without any shell.
- In Ovoviviparous the offspring are born alive and without eggs.
- Many rattlesnake species are ovoviviparous. The rattlesnake retains and develops its eggs inside the body. And then give birth to a live young.
Complete Guide On How To Breed A Snake
Snake breeding is difficult and requires proper food, temperature, and climate. Here is the complete guide on how to breed a snake.
Prepare Your Snake For Breeding
When preparing your snake for breeding, provide it with the optimum amount of heat. The temperature of around 85° to 100° Fahrenheit is optimum for the snakes.
Also, avoid handling your snakes after feeding it to prevent meals regurgitation.
Set-up a Hibernation Chamber
Hibernation is one of the important elements of successful snake breeding. Ensure you provide enough seclusion inside the hibernation chamber.
Also, maintain a temperature of 55° to 60° Fahrenheit inside the chamber.
Make sure the hibernation chamber is a bit smaller than the snake’s cage.
Fill the snake’s hibernation chamber with five to ten inches of corncob bedding. The snake will burrow in this hibernation chamber.
Preparing snakes for hibernation is important. Before hibernating, ensure the female snake is healthy. If you are unsure of the snake’s health take it to the snake’s veteran.
- Most female snakes mate after reaching the age of 3 years.
- Corn Snakes are early breeders. A corn snake is ready to reproduce at the age of 18-24 months.
- Burmese pythons reach sexuality at the age of 4-5 years.
- Black rat snakes begin reproducing at the age of 7 years.
Ensure both male and female snakes are healthy and mature before they mate.
Also, just a week before hibernation, give your snake warm baths daily. Bathing a snake removes wastes from its body.
Giving baths daily lowers the temperature inside the snake’s cage. Lowering the cage’s temperature will enable snakes to adjust easily inside the camber.
Shift your snake with the water bowl after 7 days to the hibernation chamber. The snake should be left inside the hibernation chamber for eight weeks.
The water inside the hibernation chamber should be replenished as needed.
Once the snake completes 8 weeks inside the chamber, slightly increase the temperature. Now is the time to bring back the snake to its original cage.
Introducing the Male and The Female
Now is the right time to introduce the male snake to the female snake. Male and female are introduced a week before mating.
Start with keeping the male and female snake in the same cage. A female snake’s body gestures will help you identify if she is willing to breed or not.
Feeling fine and sitting relaxed near the male is a sign of approval.
Keep reintroducing the male and female snake till the time the female snake loses interest.
Loss of interest is a sign that the female snake is producing eggs. A female snake’s gestation period is around 28 to 48 days.
Wait for the female snake to lay eggs or give birth.
How To Breed Corn Snakes?
Temperature and photoperiod are the triggers in corn snake breeding. Corn snakes mate during a cooler period and therefore they breed mostly in winter.
- Corn snakes are prepared for breeding at the age of 18-24 months. Make sure the corn snake is fully fed and healthy before breeding.
- The snake is prepared for brumation at the starting of December. By January a corn snake starts hibernating. During the brumation period, the temperature should be 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Corn snakes are prepared for mating in the temperature around 45° to 65° Fahrenheit. They reproduce better when the light is less
- These snakes are kept in this temperature before mating for 60-75 days.
- Proper temperature checking is done using a thermostat for preparing the snake for brumation.
- Prep up for the newborn corn snake. Make sure you have 30 newborn mice per week to feed them.
How To Breed Ball Pythons?
The breeding process is very dependent on temperature, especially with Ball Pythons.
Ball python breeders prefer the first day of December as the ideal time for breeding.
During this time Ball Pythons copulate frequently due to the cold weather. Some breeders prepare their pythons during this season.
The real copulations are counted in the spring when the temperature warms up.
Sexing a ball python is one of the most difficult jobs. You need to be working with both male and female before sexing them. Firstly you have to prepare your ball python for mating.
- Ensure a female ball python has enough weight. New breeders should be observed if they need food during breeding. Old female breeders should have more weight than they initially had. Male python should be 400 grams at least at the time of breeding.
- Keep the ambient temperature of around 79-80 Fahrenheit for breeding a ball python.
- Put your male python with other male pythons in a cage before he is ready.
- Male pythons lose calories during brumation, make sure to feed them properly before mating.
- Mating is hard for male Pythons, give them enough rest they need.
- A week’s gap is needed for the next mating session to enable male pythons to regain strength.
- A female snake starts producing follicles when the temperature is apt. A female Python lays eggs nearly 25-45 days later.
- If you are not careful while sexing them things can go wrong. If you are unsure of the sex of your snake then probing must be performed. Through probing, you can identify the sex of your snake. You can even take veterans’ help to identify the snake’s gender.
Tips to Know If the Snake Is Pregnant
Just like humans, a female snake has a bulging belly when it is pregnant.
You can use an ultrasound machine for scanning. The scales on the female body flare outwards to accommodate the bulge.
Some of the snake species also change color when they carry eggs. Ball python females lie on their backs when gravid.
Some Facts About Snake Breeding
- When a female snake is pregnant she needs enough space to lay her eggs.
- She needs a resting space and also space so that she feels a bit comfortable.
- At the time of the breeding season, male snakes become aggressive while searching for mates.
- Once male snake mates with a female it next searches for a new mate.
- A female snake gets agitated when a male snake hangs around after mating.
Snake breeding can be fun and interesting only if you take important measures.
Ensure you keep both the male and female healthy before, after, and during the brumation period.
The health of a baby snake depends on the heath of their parents.
Ensure you supply enough energy to your snakes by feeding them the proper meals.
Also, do not force your snakes for sexing. Wait for the right age and temperature. If your snake is prepared, it will take the desired steps.