How Do Snakes Lay Eggs – These Interesting Facts Will Blow Your Mind

In their natural environments, snakes carefully select a nest site to lay their eggs. The reason they choose the nesting site carefully is that the eggs require an ideal temperature and humidity range. This is important because if these environmental needs aren’t met, the eggs of the snake won’t hatch.

Most snakes prefer the warmer, tropical regions, but snakes are capable of making different habitats their home. Deserts, water, and forests are other places where snakes live, lay eggs and produce their young.

Inexperienced snake enthusiasts might well ask how to snakes lay eggs when they look at the long, slender body that some snakes possess.

Snakes reproduce through the process of internal fertilization. Just like birds and marsupial mammals, snakes have a cloaca. The cloaca isn’t only used for waste elimination but for reproduction purposes too. When the time comes to lay their eggs, these eggs pass through the cloaca.  

Most snakes lay eggs. The females would have mated in the Spring, after coming out of hibernation.  They are known to be oviparous – they lay eggs which are incubated till birth.

Egg Placement Influences Survival

The female snake chooses the nesting site carefully. Egg placement for reptiles influences survival. The egg stage is a fragile period, with the mortality rate being particularly high at this time. The female’s selection of a nest site influences the survival of her offspring and it will need to offer some kind of protection from predation.

Development of the Egg

 With egg-laying snakes, development of the eggs takes place within the female snake’s oviduct before oviposition. The ovary releases an ovulated egg, and secretions from the oviduct coat the egg. Production of the eggshell starts when the egg moves into the uterus. The gestated egg, with the help of rhythmic muscle contractions,  moves out of the uterus and through the oviduct’s cloacal opening.

The female lays eggs in succession, with the eggs adhering to one another.

You need to keep an eye on your egg-laying female snake in captivity. There is a condition known as Dystocia. This is when your snake is unable to pass its eggs.

Your snake may have passed a number of eggs and then one becomes stuck. Sometimes, and particularly in the wild, the snake could get by with a couple of eggs left in her, as these would eventually pass through. However when its an entire clutch that is stuck, the snake can die if she isn’t taken to the vet.

We know that when a female snake lays her eggs, they should be laid in a constant succession one after the other. There are some snake experts who know how to help a snake that can’t pass eggs. They insert a needle through the snake’s belly into the egg and remove some of the yolks of the egg. This process is known as aspiration.

There are other ways a Snake gives Birth

Viviparous Snakes:

This is where there is no egg. The baby snakes receive nutrients through a placenta and yolk sack. The snakes are born live and will include snake species such as the Anaconda or Boa Constrictors.

Viviparous snakes evolved millions of years ago, undergoing transitions between egg-laying and live birth. Today the embryos remain protected from predators and colder conditions by developing inside the mother snake. A typical example of these snakes is the Garter Snake.

Ovoviviparous Snakes:

Baby snakes develop in an egg within the female snake. When they are ready to be born, the female keeps the eggs and the babies are born live. 

Oviparous snakes have the eggs growing in the oviduct of the female. The female snake will lay between 2 to 50 eggs per clutch. Numbers of eggs will depend on the type of snake it is. Also, some of the females bury their eggs to incubate them while others wrap themselves around the snake.

Typically, the mother snake doesn’t hang around to see her young come into the world – she knows that they’re pretty independent from word go.

Egg Laying in Captivity

If you’ve got a snake in captivity and the female has produced eggs, you will no doubt need to incubate them yourself. Just like in the wild, the eggs will need to be kept at precisely the right temperature and humidity.


Reptile incubators can be bought at pet shops or online and some even have a transparent cover so you can see the state of development of the eggs.

After about 2 to 3 months the eggs will hatch on their own. Snakes don’t incubate their own eggs as they’re cold-blooded – they don’t produce body heat.

Different Snake Species – Different Egg Laying Cycles

Different snake species have different gestation and laying times. It is why it is important to do research if you’re keeping a pet snake. You need to understand the breeding and laying of egg cycles for the different species.

After mating, it generally takes around 60 days or so for snakes to lay their eggs.

A couple of weeks before laying of eggs they have their pre-lay shed. This is when it is important that your enclosure temperatures are correct and that the environmental conditions are correct for egg laying. In captivity, you will need to provide your snakes with an egg-laying container.

There is no need to rush out and buy one as you can even use one of those 2-liter ice-cream tubs with a lid. Simply make a hole in the lid large enough for the snake to climb through.

Do snakes Lay Eggs in the Ground

Snakes lay their eggs in places such as underneath logs, in damp burrows and also in the ground.  They like sand or soil as this helps to incubate the eggs.

It’s important to know about the egg-laying habits of snakes because it can give you an idea of who the eggs belong to. Most snake eggs are white in appearance.

If you’re wondering if you are dealing with a bird- or snake egg, for instance, the location in which you found it can be extremely helpful.

There are some snakes that return to the same nesting spot, and they may even travel long distances to use the nest site they used before. These snakes rely on familiar nesting spots.

They instinctively know that eggs kept too warm or too cold result in dead or deformed young.

Examples of Egg-Laying Snakes

 Most of the world’s snakes are egg laying. This includes all those snakes from the large Colubridae family where there are about 1,76- species. Most are non-venomous, they come from all corners of the world and they are egg-laying. Some of the aquatic types are live-bearing. Members of the Elapidae family also lay eggs and examples of these are mambas, cobras, adders, etc.

Do Black Snakes Lay Eggs

Black snakes are found on all continents and are known by different names – Black Rat Snake, Black Racer, Pilot Black Snake, and others. It is a constrictor and some species look so similar that it can be difficult identifying them with their black coloration.

Black rat snakes are oviparous (egg-laying) with repeating reproductive cycles. Females lay between 6 and 24 eggs.  The eggs are deposited under logs, in hollow trees or in compost. The eggs will take between 37 to 51 days to develop and hatch.

Do Pythons Lay Eggs?

Pythons are non-venomous snakes of which there are 41 species found within the family Pythonidae. Pythons are egg layers (oviparous), and interestingly, most species provide some parental care to their eggs, The female makes a nest of soil and vegetation, and once the eggs are laid, she coils around them, using what is known as shivering thermogenesis to keep the eggs warm.

Do Brown Snakes Lay Eggs?

Not to be mistaken for Copperhead snakes, the Brown Snake is slender, and depending on which continent you live, there are non-venomous as well as venomous Brown snakes.

They mate once a year and are an egg-laying species. Females will lay around 16 eggs, though clutches can be a lot larger. Eggs are laid in damp burrows, with the female staying with the eggs for up to 5 weeks. Eggs gestate for about 2.5 months.

Do Garter Snakes Lay Eggs?

No, Garter snakes are one of the most widespread snakes in North America, and they’re ovoviviparous, meaning that the embryos develop inside the eggs. Garter snake eggs are retained within the mother’s body until they are ready for hatching. The young are born live.

Do Tiger Snakes Lay Eggs?

Thick set Tiger Snakes, found in Australia, are a greyish brown color with distinct bands. They’re aggressive venomous and dangerous. The gestation period for these snakes is about 112 days and the females produce about 20-30 live young at a time.  The baby snakes come out covered in membranous sacs, and once they’re out of these sacs they’re on their own.

Plenty of Eggs are Laid

Snakes lay plenty of eggs as it ensures that at least some of their young will survive. There are quite a few factors which affect the health of these unhatched eggs –

  • predation by egg-loving animals
  • the habit of egg turning with snakes in captivity
  • temperature variations.

How do snakes lay eggs? Through mating and through the cloaca. The male snake also has a cloaca but it isn’t used for mating.

Whether a snake lays eggs at home in captivity or in the wild,  we need the best chances there are for them to survive, as snakes play a key role in the balance of nature. If their numbers were to dwindle, it would have a negative impact on the world’s eco-systems.

Are you wanting to name your pet snake – check this article: Funny Pet Snake Names

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