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 about Snakes

Related Questions

  • Q:

    How do snakes lay eggs?

    A:

    Snakes lay eggs after a female mates with a male; she then deposits two to 16 eggs in a group called a clutch. Some species of snakes lay up to as many 50 or more eggs at a time.

    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:
  • Q:

    How do snakes protect themselves?

    A:

    Snakes use a variety of techniques and adaptations to defend themselves, including camouflage or fleeing from predators, as well as bluffing, biting and envenoming animals that threaten them. Most snakes seek to remain undetected by threatening animals and flee upon detection. However, snakes that are unable to escape may engage in a variety of defensive displays or deliver possible life-threatening bites.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore