Snakes that reproduce by laying eggs are called oviparous. Others give birth to live young ones and are referred to as viviparous.
Seventy percent of the world’s snakes’ population lay eggs.
Once the eggs are laid, they are kept warm and incubated until the point when the young ones are ready to hatch, although only a few snake species do this. Most snake species abandon their eggs shortly after laying them.
(One unique snake is the King Cobra that incubates the eggs and even stays for some time nurturing the hatchlings after they emerge.)
Snakes That Lay Eggs (Oviparous Snakes)
The following table outlines the 13 snakes that lay eggs that we’re exploring in this article.
|Oviparous Snake||Eggs in Clutch||Incubation Period|
|Ball Python||About 11||60 days|
|Cobra||Up to 50||66 to 105 days|
|Corn Snake||10-30||50 days|
|Inland Taipan||About 16||50 days|
|King Snake||5 – 12||40 – 65 days|
|Mud Snake||20-30||37 – 80 days|
|Parrot Snake||1-50||About 90 days|
Related: What Colors are Snake Eggs?
Which Snakes Lay Eggs?
1. Ball Pythons
Female ball pythons lay an average of 11 large, leathery eggs that hatch after 60 days. Male pythons achieve maturity at 18 months, while females take 36 months to perform sexually.
Ball pythons lay the eggs after mating, but in rare cases, they produce eggs through parthenogenesis. Female ball pythons stop laying eggs when they reach 30 years of age.
They are also known as royal pythons and live in central and west Africa within open forests and grasslands. The snake is known as the smallest of the African pythons, and it grows to a maximum length of 182cm.
When scared or stressed, the snake curls up into a ball hence the name ball python.
The ball python is black with a creamy or white belly, and it has relatively smooth scales. Ball pythons are mostly found in Sub Saharan Africa since it prefers savannas, grasslands, and scantily wooded regions.
Cobra mating is determined by the region and the weather of the region. After breeding, the male and female stay together while the mother collects litter and leaves for the nest.
Cobras lay a maximum of 50 eggs, and the hatchlings achieve 50cm at birth. The hatchlings dot white and yellow stripes on their skin.
All known cobras are venomous, and they broaden their necks into a hood when threatened. The snakes are common in south Asia and Africa, and their short fangs deliver venom through an enclosed groove.
They rely on scent to hunt since they hunt from dawn to dusk by using their tongue to pull scent particles. Cobras are found in savannas, tropical rainforests, and deserts in the middle east and Africa.
3. Corn Snakes
Corn snakes take 90 days to breed after the winter period. Males court the female with hemipenes and ejaculate, thus fertilizing the eggs if the female is ovulating.
An average of 12- 24 eggs are laid one month after mating in a warm secret site. Females do not return to the eggs after they lay.
Corn snakes are North American species that use constriction to subdue their prey. They are mostly found in southeast America.
They are often confused with the venomous copperhead, which gets them killed by fearful residents. The truth is corn snakes are completely harmless. In fact, they benefit farmers by regulating populations of rodent pests.
4. Inland Taipan Snake
After breeding and fertilization, female taipans produce anywhere between one and two dozen eggs which hatch after two months.
These snakes prefer to lay their eggs in deserted crevices and animal burrows where predators cannot reach.
While it is small, the Inland Taipan snake is pretty fierce and extremely venomous. These snakes are found in semi-arid areas of Central East Australia.
The venom from the snake is lethal, although it would avoid confrontations with humans. Taipan snakes range from light green, brown to dark blue and may have shades of grey and brown.
The mating season for kingsnakes comes towards the end of spring or early summer. The females lay eggs after incubating them inside their bodies for a while.
A total of 24 eggs are laid in secluded places such as debris, abandoned caves, or burrows. Mothers abandon the eggs, which hatch 3 months later on their own.
Kingsnakes inhabit a large part of America to Ecuador, and they grow up to 6 feet. Their colors range from black to brown, while others are scarcely marked with red and white spots.
Kingsnakes are opportunistic hunters and constrict their prey before devouring them.
6. Mud Snakes
Mud snakes breed towards the spring, where the female lays close to 100 eggs eight weeks after mating.
The snakes prefer a nest made up of moist soil and sometimes take up nests of other reptiles, like alligators. Unlike other snake species, female mud snakes take care of their eggs and incubate them until they hatch.
Even so, knowledge about the reproduction of mud snakes is still incomplete due to their secretive habits.
These are a species of non-venomous snakes found in America that grow to a length of 50 inches. They are glossy black on the upper side and red on the underside. Mud snakes have a cylindrical body with a short tail with a terminal spine.
These snakes prefer living on the edges of dense vegetation and swamps since they are nearly aquatic.
7. Parrot Snakes
Parrot snakes lay clutches of up to 50 eggs at once. Females use previous eggshells to locate a successful nesting area with a perfect incubation environment free from predators.
Parrot snakes are medium-sized and slender species that are mostly found in Central and South America. They are distributed in countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, Mexico, Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Adults parrot snakes grow up to 68 inches and have a golden, green, or bronzy dorsal.
Pythons’ mating seasons vary with the different species. Females collect vegetation to make nests or use old burrows and soil to protect the eggs and incubate them.
They care for the eggs until they hatch, after which they abandon the young ones and proceed to other regions.
Pythons are non-venomous snakes found in Australia, Africa, and Asia. They are considered old-world snakes because they are not native to America.
There are 41 different python species, all of which are constrictors. Generally, pythons are large snakes with different colorations and patterns. They mostly inhabit warm wet environments, grasslands, swamps, and woodlands.
Read More: Do Pythons Lay Eggs?
9. Rat Snakes
Rat snakes in colder environments lay eggs less frequently in hidden spots like compost piles or hollow logs. Most eggs hatch after two months without any parental protection and, more often than not, end up falling prey to hawks and other predators.
Rat snakes are medium-sized snakes that kill by constriction since they are non-venomous.
Most species of the rat snake family are found in North America and vary in appearance. Some have stripes, and others are single-colored in yellow, black, brown, or red. For reproduction, the snakes lay two or one clutches of eggs every year under the right conditions.
10. The Green Mamba
The green mamba is oviparous, and it lays a maximum of 18 eggs at a time. They prefer laying eggs in rotting vegetation and warm sites. The hatchlings grow up to 18 inches and are venomous from the word go.
Green mambas are small-sized species that grow to a maximum of 2 meters. Green mambas spend a lot of their time atop trees.
The snakes are known to be extremely venomous as their venom rapidly closes the victim’s airways, causing death if treatment is not sought promptly.
Green mambas flee using camouflage to avoid confrontations with predators and humans. They are mostly found in the coastal region of East Africa.
11. Worm Snakes
The average worm snake lays 8 eggs, preferably in a warm nest made from litter and leaves. The eggs hatch in late summer.
Worm snakes are brown snakes with small eyes and shiny scales with a cylindrical body that has a pointed tail tip. The dorsal area is dark brown, and the underside is white or pink. These snakes are found in some states of the USA.
These snakes prefer residing in forested areas where they reproduce during summer.
12. Yellow-Faced Whip Snake
The yellow-faced whip snake is a slender snake that is active and fast-moving during the day, making it diurnal. It is commonly found in many parts of Australia. It is pale brown or grey, with the head and tail having a reddish appearance. The snake is found in almost all environments and habitats except rain forests and swamps from arid interiors to the coast.
Yellow-faced whip snakes lay clutches of between 5 and 20 eggs during the summer. Some opt for communal egg laying in rock crevices and deep soils with as many as 200 eggs.
At What Age Do Snakes Lay Eggs?
Different snake species reach maturity at different ages. Still, a healthy snake will reach maturity anywhere between 2 and 3 years of age. A healthy snake is that which has a constant diet, good feeding habits, and a good, reliable habitat.
Snakes that are malnourished and smaller than their average species size take longer to mature sexually.
In some species, male and female snakes reach sexual maturity at different times. For instance, male timber rattlesnakes become sexually mature at 3, while the females can go until 4 years before they can breed and reproduce.
There are usually tell-tale signs to indicate sexual maturity in snakes. For some males, scales start appearing in the area close to their anal region. Female snakes tend to develop a cloacal capsule from the ventral surface when they are sexually ready.
Read More: What do Snake Nests Look Like?
Where you’d Find Snake Egg
Most snakes prefer to lay their eggs in natural cavities, including under logs, around moist soil, and in burrows. However, compared to other reptiles, snakes are least bothered as to where they lay their eggs, provided it is a hidden or abandoned place. At times, mother snakes do not even bother to bury their eggs.
Even so, there are snakes such as pine snakes that care about their eggs a little more than other species. Pine snakes hide their clutches in sand tunnels that they dig on their own. Snakes usually lay eggs within two weeks or a month of mating and fertilization.
Snakes that lay eggs are known as oviparous and make up the majority of snakes. Certain snakes that lay eggs abandon them after laying, and a few incubate them until they hatch
Snakes pick the most abandoned and secure site to lay their eggs to safeguard them from predators and damage.
It is common for snakes to mate immediately after hibernation when the temperatures are warm. Oviparous snakes include cobras, mambas, adders, and taipans. Only a few snakes give birth to young live ones, among them boas, sea snakes, and rattlesnakes.
Joe is a freelance writer for FaunaFacts. Joe has written extensively about snakes for the site, but also contributes content about a range of animals.