Snakes have different ways of reproducing depending on the species to which they belong, which is why there are also different types of birth. In this AnimalWised article we will talk about how snakes are born according to their reproduction and we will explain how many young they can have depending on the type of snake. In addition, we will detail the births of some of the most iconic snakes, such as vipers or the rattlesnake, as examples..
If you are a lover of these animals or simply want to expand your knowledge about the animal world, read on to find out what the birth of a snake, ¡with video included!You may also be interested in: How do snakes reproduce? Index
- Snake characteristics
- Reproduction of snakes
- How are snakes born?
- How many eggs does a snake lay?
- How are viviparous snakes born?
- How are ovoviviparous snakes born?
- How are sea snakes born?
- How snakes are born: explanation for children
- What do snakes eat?
- Where do snakes live?
There are several species of snakes that exist, each with its own characteristics that differentiate it from the rest. However, all of them have the following common characteristics:
- They are reptiles.
- They have no legs.
- They have an elongated body.
- They have a forked tongue.
- They have scales.
- They shed the skin.
- They are carnivorous.
Focusing on the subject that concerns us here, the birth of snakes also varies depending on the species, since there are oviparous, viviparous and ovoviviparous snakes.
Reproduction of snakes
As we said in the previous section, the characteristics of snakes vary depending on the species and, with them, the ways of reproducing. However, what is common to all of them is that snakes are reptiles that reproduce sexually. These animals make a copulation after the courtship that the male carries out to capture the attention of the female. During this courtship, the male has to win over the female and, in the event that there is more than one male, they fight until one of them wins, which will be the one who can copulate..
This copulation consists in that the male introduces the hemipenes that he has at the end of the tail in the cloaca of the female, where he will deposit the sperm, fertilizing it and originating the embryos. During the reproductive act, snakes twist around each other, adopting a very peculiar form. When intercourse ends, the snakes separate and each one goes on its way.
How are snakes born?
Although all snakes reproduce sexually, not all are born through the same process. Thus, the birth of a snake can vary from one species to another. We found the following types of births:
- Straight from the egg: in the oviparous snakes the hatchlings have to hatch, coming directly from the egg to the outside world. For this, they usually have a tooth or protrusion that allows them to break the shell of the egg and whose name is "egg tooth ".
- From the womb: in those viviparous snakes the young remain in a yolk sac in the mother's uterus until it is time to emerge. In this case, there is a birth similar to that of mammals, in which the sac or membrane that surrounds the young has to be broken, which leaves through the maternal duct to the outside.
- Both at the same time: in the ovoviviparous snakes it can be said that the calf has a double job or effort to do in order to be born. First, it has to break the shell of the egg where it has developed and that is in the mother's womb; later, it has to leave the maternal womb to the outside. As in the case of oviparous, the young usually have a tooth that allows them to break the egg shell.
How many eggs does a snake lay?
The number of eggs laid by a snake depends on the species, Well, there are some, such as rattlesnakes, that lay between 4 and 25 eggs, while others lay 3-4 and some snakes can lay 100 eggs.
It also depends on the atmospheric conditions, since colder climates tend to negatively affect how prolific a snake can become, giving fewer eggs in these cases than when temperatures rise..
On the other hand, it should be noted that not all snake eggs are the same, some are white, others yellowish, round, elongated or oval..
How are viviparous snakes born?
As we said, one of the forms of birth of snakes includes the development of the embryo within a placenta. In this way, viviparous snakes gestate their young inside through a method similar to that of mammalian animals. The little ones are fed by placenta and yolk sac in which they are, so no eggs are formed at any time. Some examples of viviparous snakes are green anacondas and boas constrictors..
Depending on the species, the gestation period will vary but, in general, it is usually around 2 months. After this period, the mother goes into labor and delivery begins. As with oviparous snakes, several snakes can be born, so it is not possible to establish how long it takes a snake to give birth.
Birth of a snake
If you want to know more about how snakes calve, in the following BoaWorld video we can see how boa constrictor snakes are born.
How are ovoviviparous snakes born?
Ovoviviparous snakes are those that develop inside an egg incubated in the womb. The rattlesnake is one of the best known ovoviparous snakes, so we will explain how rattlesnakes are born as an example of this type of birth. So, the rattles hatch from mother-conceived eggs, where they finish developing until they hatch, leaving the snakes in the middle already developed. This whole process takes place in a period of 90 days approximately.
These hatchlings are barely 25 centimeters long, having a horny button at the end of their tail. They are as poisonous as adult specimens, presenting their teeth and venom from birth.
These little snakes are totally independent from practically the moment they hatch from the egg and from the mother's womb. Although they are usually in the area where they were born during the first week of life, shortly thereafter they wander as far as they want until they find good sources of food..
Since the rattlesnake is not the only snake that carries out this type of birth, it is important to note that not all ovoviviparous snakes are born out of the shell. Some snakes are born this way and others break the shell as soon as they are expelled Mother.
Young snakes: what they are like
Vipers are also ovoviviparous animals, therefore the eggs develop inside the mother until the young leave them at the time of hatching, after which labor begins, in which they have to leave the mother's womb.
When the snake is carrying the eggs, it is exposed to the sun or gets close to heat sources, going through situations in which the mother becomes too hot. This is done to promote the correct development of the embryos, as the eggs could spoil if the mother's body temperature is not high enough..
How are sea snakes born?
Sea snakes are almost entirely animals of ovoviviparous birth, because the young grow inside eggs housed by their mother until they hatch. This is the case except in the case of species belonging to the genus Laticauda, which includes species such as the laticauda colubrina or the laticauda saintgironsi.
How snakes are born: explanation for children
For baby snakes to be born, their father and mother have to get to know each other first, but then the mother snake will take care of the babies. Snakes can hatch from an egg, like chicks, or stay in their mother's womb until they are older to be able to go out into the world, as happens with human babies..
When they are born, the small snakes already have teeth and can feed almost like adults, although not on such large prey. Normally, snake mothers are not very attentive to their young and in many cases the babies have to fend for themselves. However, some snakes such as pythons take care of their little ones until they consider they are old enough to live on their own..
What do snakes eat?
Now that you know how snakes are born, it is time to talk about their diet and habitat, without a doubt, curiosities of snakes that it does not hurt to know. Snakes are animals that feed exclusively on other animals, being a totally carnivorous species from birth. Specifically, the feeding of a snake will depend on two factors, one of them is based on the intrinsic characteristics of each of the snake species, such as its size or its predatory capabilities. Another is basically what the environment can offer them, varying the diet between snakes that inhabit more tropical regions and those of arid or subtropical places..
In general, snakes are very good at attacking and hunting their prey, highlighting their ferocity and speed. In most cases, the prey does not even realize that the snake is there until it is too late. To kill their prey, snakes may have two different hunting mechanisms:
- Constriction: consists of surrounding their prey and squeezing until they suffocate.
- Poison: they bite their prey by injecting their venom into its bloodstream, which if it does not die at least is stunned and becomes an easy target for its hunter.
Be that as it may, snakes have a very varied diet, ranging from insects to other vertebrates of various kinds, such as rodents or fish in the case of aquatic snakes..
Where do snakes live?
Snakes inhabit practically the entire planet, being present in places as remote as the Arctic Circle. But overall, its presence is more frequent in warm places, since their reptilian condition makes them better tolerate excessively high temperatures than extremely cold ones, where they normally perish. In this way, we find snakes on all continents, highlighting their presence in places with a tropical climate, such as the Amazon rainforest or Australia, where 11 of the most poisonous snakes in the world are found, including the most lethal of all, the snake. inland taipan.
As well there are aquatic snakes, both freshwater and saltwater, each species being adapted to the specific conditions of the environment in which it lives. Sea snakes are frequent in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, inhabiting shallow waters close to the coast and being able to enter freshwater flows if necessary..