Q:

How do snakes give birth?

A:

Approximately 70 percent of snakes lay eggs, and the remainder have live births. However, live birth of a snake is not the same as in other animals. Snakes that have live births hold the eggs inside the body, and when they hatch, they are pushed out of the snake into the world.

There are four venomous snakes found in the United States, and the only one that lays eggs is the coral snake. The other three, the copperhead, water moccasin and rattlesnake, have live births. Garter snakes also have live births. The largest snake that is found in the United States, the Burmese python, lays eggs.

The way snakes tend to their young varies from species to species. The coral and racer snakes lay eggs and then leave, so the baby snakes are on their own once they hatch. King Cobras, as well as some varieties of pythons, stay with their eggs. They do this to keep them warm until they hatch. In the case of live births, snakes frequently abandon their young after birth. However, some rattlesnakes stay for a few days to discourage predators. Egg-laying snakes tend to live in warmer climates, while live-birthing snakes live in cooler areas.


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