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How to Take Care of a Pregnant Snake

Learn how to take care of a pregnant snake in this Howcast video about pet snakes.


What are some of the things we need to do if we have a pregnant snake? Well number one, privacy is a good thing. Snakes are very, very shy and especially in times like that, it's a good idea to observe them from afar. Our pet snakes, our pythons, our corn snakes, milk snakes, king snakes they'll lay eggs. Our boa constrictors and our garter snakes actually are viviparous, they'll give birth to live snakes.

For our pythons and our egg-laying snakes many times they'll go into a pre-lay shed, so they'll start to shed. For our corn snakes, our milk snakes, our king snakes most of the time they'll do that about 8 to 14 days before they're ready to lay eggs. For our pythons and especially the bigger ones, it can be anywhere from 18 to 28 days after the shed, that they'll start to lay. So it's very important that when that happens that we get these guys into an incubation area, a laying area, and it's very easy to do.

You can use peat moss, sphagnum moss, vermiculite, and what they'll actually do is they'll burrow down in the vermiculite. It's important that the substrate stay moist but not wet. Wet you're asking for infection, moist is very important. They'll lay their eggs, and for the python, the python will wrap herself around her eggs and many times will tremble her muscles, and in trembling the muscles create heat, so it keeps her eggs warm.

If it's cooler she'll wrap tighter around her eggs. If it's warmer she'll loosen up to cool the eggs down a little bit. They'll hatch within, anywhere from 45 to 70 days and it's very dependent on temperature. The warmer it is and the incubation box should be anywhere from 80 to 90 degrees, and actually mid-80's is pretty good. At higher temperatures you'll get hatchlings quicker, but you'll also get more congenital defects. That normally shows up not only in immune problems and things, but different patterns of color.

For our boa constrictors and our garters which are viviparous, they can be pregnant depending on the environment anywhere from a month and a half to about six months. And a garter snake can give birth to as many as anywhere from 40 to 90 baby snakes. Sometimes the question is asked, "Can a snake lay eggs that are not fertile?" And the answer to that is yes, they can. They will go through the same behavior, but the eggs won't hatch, and there's a few tips on pregnancy in snakes.

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