This python laid 7 eggs despite not being near a male for almost 2 decades
A 62-year-old female python from the St. Louis Zoo has laid 7 eggs despite not having been in contact with a male for at least 15 years.
The ball python, which has not been named, laid her eggs on July 23, three of which are still in an incubator, two were used for genetic sampling, and two did not survive. The remaining eggs will need around one month to hatch.
The St. Louis Zoo snakes live in a herpatarium but are not displayed for public view, as per the St Louis Post-Dispatch. The snake, which is being referred to as number 361,003, was given to the Zoo by a private owner back in 1961 when it was 3 years of age.
The creature had reportedly laid a number of eggs back in 2009 but none of them survived. It also laid another clutch in 1990.
According to Mark Wanner, the facility manager, it is a strange but not rare phenomenon for ball pythons to reproduce without a sexual partner. He also stressed that snakes sometimes store sperm for later fertilization.
The elderly ball python lives at St Louis Zoo in Missouri, with scientists there now trying to work out the secrets of her conception https://t.co/ZcLJIVHNbN
— Metro (@MetroUK) September 12, 2020
The snake most likely mated with the only other snake many years ago, a 31-year-old male that also lives in the zoo, even though they are being kept separate nowadays.
“She’d definitely be the oldest snake we know of in history” to produce offspring, Wanner said, stressing she is also the oldest snake ever documented in a zoo.
According to Wanner, it “would be pretty incredible” if the eggs hatched.
See FOX 2 St. Louis’s report on the story in the video below.
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