Most people think of snakes as cold-blooded slithering creatures that lack the ability to show affection. However the truth is that snakes are amazing parents that go to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of their offspring.
Here’s a look at how snakes have babies and the different ways they care for their young.
1. How Do Snakes Reproduce?
Like other reptiles snakes reproduce by laying eggs. However the process of reproduction is a bit different for snakes than it is for other reptiles.
When a male snake is ready to mate he will release a pheromone that attracts females to him. Once he has found a suitable mate the male snake will wrap his body around the female and insert one of his two penises into her cloaca.
The cloaca is an opening located at the base of a snake’s tail that serves as the exit point for waste and the entrance point for reproduction.
Mating can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours and it usually takes place during the springtime.
After mating the female snake will lay her eggs in a secluded place such as in a burrow under a rock or in a hollow tree. Once the eggs are laid the female snake will leave them to fend for themselves.
2. How Many Eggs Do Snakes Lay?
The number of eggs a snake lays depends on the species of snake. For example garter snakes typically lay between 10 and 40 eggs while king snakes may lay up to 100 eggs.
Once the eggs are laid it takes anywhere from two to three months for them to hatch.
3. What Happens When The Eggs Hatch?
When the eggs hatch the baby snakes called neonates are on their own. They are not cared for by their parents and must fend for themselves from the moment they hatch.
This may seem cruel but it’s actually quite common in the animal kingdom. Many animals including reptiles abandon their young after they are born.
4. What Do Baby Snakes Eat?
Baby snakes eat the same things as adult snakes. However they are much smaller so they eat smaller prey. For example a baby garter snake may eat small insects while a baby king snake may eat small lizards or mice.
5. Do Snakes Have A Specific Way Of Caring For Their Young?
Snakes do not care for their young in the traditional sense. However they do provide them with a safe place to hatch and grow.
The female snake will carefully choose a safe place for her eggs such as a burrow or a hollow tree. She will then stay close by to protect them from predators.
Once the eggs have hatched the neonates are on their own. However they will often stay close to their mother for the first few weeks of their lives.
In conclusion snakes are amazing parents that go to great lengths to ensure the safety and well-being of their offspring. From choosing a safe place for their eggs to hatch to providing them with a warm place to stay snakes are dedicated parents that deserve our respect.