Q:

How are snakes born?

A:

Quick Answer

Most snakes hatch from eggs outside of the mother. While a small number of snake species give birth to live snakes rather than laying eggs, all snake eggs are internally fertilized when snakes mate. After mating, some snakes lay their eggs immediately, while others carry the eggs around, laying them only when it is time for the eggs to hatch.

Know More
How are snakes born?
Credit: Mark Hamblin Oxford Scientific Getty Images

Full Answer

Most snake species abandon their eggs before they hatch, leaving the offspring to protect themselves after birth. Snakes hatch fully formed but smaller than adult snakes, and they are very vulnerable to predators. There is a high mortality rate for young snakes. Some species, such as the cobra and python, build and maintain nests for their eggs, providing heat and protection for the developing snakes both before and after hatching.

A small number of snake species, such as the boa constrictor and green anaconda, give live birth rather than laying eggs. These and other species that give birth to live offspring often live in colder or more hostile environments, necessitating the protective warmth of a parent to ensure a successful development and birth.

Snakes that lay eggs are called oviparous, while snake species that reproduce through live birth are called viviparous.

Learn more in Snakes

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What kinds of snakes lay eggs?

    A:

    Some examples of oviparous snakes, or snakes that lay eggs, are king snakes, pine snakes, milk snakes and pythons. Oviparous snakes are typically found in warm climates where the higher temperatures assist in the incubation period. Viviparous snakes, or snakes that give birth to live young instead of laying eggs, usually live in colder climates and higher elevations.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do snakes slither?

    A:

    Snakes slither by using their scales as friction hooks to latch onto rough surfaces and propel themselves. They also shift their weight around, concentrating it in a way that allows them to move. Some snakes may have individual muscle control over their scales that allows them to move rapidly.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do snakes eat?

    A:

    According to VCA Hospitals, all snakes are carnivores and prefer to eat whole prey items. The specific prey items depend on the snake species and the size of the snake.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    Are all snakes venomous?

    A:

    Not all snakes are venomous, but even nonvenomous snakes are subject to strike if they feel frightened or sense danger. An easy way to determine if a snake is poisonous is to look at its pupils; the pupils of poisonous snakes are elliptical, much like the eyes of a cat, while the pupils of a non-venomous snake are round.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore