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62-Year-Old Snake Lays 7 Eggs Fifteen Years After She Was Anywhere Near A Male


62-Year-Old Snake Lays 7 Eggs Fifteen Years After She Was Anywhere Near A Male

The snake is now considered the oldest in history to lay eggs.

The Saint Louis Zoo was shocked to find their oldest snake had just become a mother seven times over, seemingly without any help from a male. The 62-Year-Old ball python, identified only by the number 361003, was seen coiled around her eggs by zoo officials on July 23rd.

The incident has also left Missouri zoo experts scratching their heads till now. 

Snake Lays 7 Eggs 2
via Facebook | Saint Louis Zoo

Taking to Facebook, the zoo announced the birth, writing: “That might not sound too thrilling to some, but to our Herpetarium staff, it definitely was. This particular female snake is over 50 years old (the oldest snake documented in a zoo) and has not been with a male in over 15 years!”

It’s alleged the last time this particular snake came into contact with a male was possibly in the late 1980s to early 1990s.

Snake Lays 7 Eggs 3
via Wikimedia

This is because the late 1980s to early 1990s was when keepers would put female and male snakes in the same bucket while their cages were cleaned. And while females can store sperm for delayed fertilization, the longest documented case is seven years. Not only are the biological circumstances of the eggs significant, but so is the fact that this female is 62. 

Ball pythons are known to reproduce asexually, but what’s unusual is the gap this snake had between her last encounter with a male. 

Snake Lays 7 Eggs 6
via Pixabay

“We’re saying 15 plus years, but I mean, it’s probably easily closer to 30 years since she’s been physical with a male,” the Zoological Manager of Herpetology, Mark Wanner, told CNN. Notably, female ball pythons typically stop laying eggs long before they even reach the age of 60. But clearly, this particular snake wasn’t ready to call it quits just yet. 

“She’d definitely be the oldest snake we know of in history [to lay eggs],” Wanner told CBS News

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via Unsplash | Tamara Gore

Two of the python’s seven eggs have been taken for genetic testing to determine if she reproduced naturally or asexually. Two among the eggs have died, while the remaining three are being incubated and are about halfway through their incubation period. Wanner claimed they expect to get the results of the genetic tests within a month. 

“We can’t wait for the samples to be tested to actually get that information because that will end any of the hearsay or whatever we might think could or couldn’t be.”

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via Facebook | Saint Louis Zoo

 Wanner continued: “If [the eggs] continue to live and continue to develop, we expect hatching to be in the next two or three weeks. We’ve got our fingers crossed that one of these animals will hatch, but we don’t know for sure.” However, this isn’t the first time this particular python has amazed zoo staff with some random eggs. 

In 2019, she had laid a batch, with records of her having ever been around a male at the time, but sadly none of the eggs hatched. 

Snake Lays 7 Eggs 7
via Diego Madrigal

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