Like most snakes, pythons lay eggs. Pythons lay eggs in shallow nests, and some of them cover the eggs with leaves and soil, similar to what cobras do.
What makes a python remarkable is that they stay with their eggs until they hatch—something that many snakes do not do. When pythons protect their eggs, they shiver to raise their bodies’ temperature. During incubation, the python does not eat.
Can Pythons Lay Eggs Without Mating?
Some snakes including pythons can delay fertilization. There is a process that scientists call parthenogenesis. It is a process where a female produces without mating. Some lizards also do this. However, animals only do this as a second choice of reproduction.
Yes, they can. Pythons are oviparous. What this means is that that they lay eggs. They are not like their cousin, the boa, that gives birth.
There is a case of a python laying eggs without being near a male one. It happened in the Saint Louis Zoo in the US. It has been 25 years since the female python was around a male, yet it had seven eggs.
Herpetologists know that ball pythons like the ones in the zoo could reproduce asexually. It is not rare, but it is not a common occurrence either. Pythons can also store sperm for many years.
Related: 13 Snakes that Lay Eggs
How Does A Python Give Birth?
Pythons are oviparous animals meaning they give birth by laying eggs and there is little to no embryonic development inside the mother. Most fish, amphibians, and reptiles are oviparous.
A python does not give birth to live young like a boa.
How Often Do Pythons Lay Eggs?
Pythons lay between 6 and 100 eggs per year on average, depending on the specific species.
On the other hand, a ball python could lay six eggs, and the reticulated python can lay between 20 and 100 eggs.
Ball pythons lay eggs throughout the year. The Borneo python lays eggs roughly every other year. The Burmese python, however, only lays eggs between March and May. The reticulated python is active between March and July.
There are other species of pythons that are not so popular. For example, the Angolan python lays eggs between Mach and July, similar to the reticulated python. On the other hand, the African python lays eggs between March and August.
How Many Eggs Does A Python Lay?
A python lays between six and 100 eggs, depending on the species. Some pythons such as the reticulated python can lay up to 80 eggs at one time, whereas ball pythons only lay between 3 and 11 eggs at once.
It varies. Different species have different averages. Below is a table that shows how many eggs each python lays per clutch.
|Species||Average Eggs Laid Per Year|
|African Rock Python||20-50|
An egg clutch is a group of eggs. It is similar to the number of babies that a human gives birth to. It is not only a snake that lays an egg clutch. Other reptiles, birds, and amphibians lay egg clutches. Animals that lay an egg clutch usually do it a single time.
Python eggs are vulnerable to predators. Egg predation is not uncommon in the wild. The animals that eat python eggs are carnivores. If another snake sees it, it will undoubtedly have a feast.
The good thing about pythons is that they watch their eggs. They stay with the egg clutch until they hatch. Since the other python is around, it is not unlikely for another animal to attack the eggs.
Since snakes are cold-blooded, the mother python needs to leave the nest occasionally to bask, leaving her eggs vulnerable.
Do Pythons Lay Eggs from their Mouth?
No, this is a myth. When people say this, they mistake a python laying eggs with one that is eating the eggs.
Many snakes eat eggs. It is part of their diet, provided that eggs are abundant in their environment. For example, it is not unusual for rat snakes and milk snakes to eat eggs.
Many snakes hide in the vicinity of chicken farms. If the snakes were small, they would not attack the chicken but eat the eggs.
Because of this, it may seem to an untrained eye that the snake is laying eggs from the mouth. It s not true. Snakes that lay eggs do it from their cloaca.
The cloaca is a common chamber in vertebrates. It functions as their outlet for urinating, defecating, mating, and even giving birth.
Summary: Do Pythons Lay Eggs?
Pythons lay eggs. They are oviparous, which means they do not give live birth. Pythons typically lay about six eggs. In extreme cases, a python can lay 80 eggs.
Pythons build a nest to lay their eggs. Some of them cover the nest with leaves and soil. One exciting thing that pythons do is that they watch over their eggs. This behavior is unusual for snakes.
Pythons “shiver” when they are on top of their eggs. It helps create heat to develop the eggs and make them mature. They also rarely leave. They do not eat once they lay eggs. If they do, it is only because they need to warm their bodies.
Stuart is the editor of Fauna Facts. He edits our writers’ work as well as contributing his own content. Stuart is passionate about sustainable farming and animal welfare and has written extensively on cows and geese for the site.