Snake owners take note of how certain snake species perform. In captivity they adjust their husbandry to achieve good breeding success, ensuring an awesome selection of patterns and colors.
How to Breed Snakes
The way snakes breed can take different forms according to the location and the species of the snake. Although snake breeding varies between the different species, every breeding snake needs to be healthy.
Breeding is essentially a male and female finding each other and mating. Seasons influence breeding, and there are those snakes that live in colder areas that will only mate in the late spring or early summer. Those snakes living in warmer, tropical areas can be mating throughout the year.
Other things also play a role in the breeding process, and temperatures, as well as the availability of food, will also determine if snakes are going to mate or not.
Pheromones Entice the Ardent Male
At mating times, you’ll find male snakes becoming more aggressive, fighting with each other to get the attention of the female. When a female snake is ready to mate, she releases a special scent known as pheromones from the skin glands on her back. Wherever she goes, she leaves this enticing aroma for the males.
If one of the sexually mature males catches this scent, he will follow her trail. He’ll know she is ready to mate because she lifts her tail. He then wraps his tail around hers and the bottoms of their tails meet at the cloaca. Inserting his hemipenes, he releases sperm.
This cloaca is an opening for the snake to excrete fluid and feces, but it is also where reproductive activities occur. When male snakes aren’t mating, the hemipenes is inverted and rests in the cloaca.
How do you get Snakes to Mate with Cooling?
Whichever snake breed you have, there is preparation for breeding. Certainly, you will need to give your snakes the right amount of heat. These temperatures are usually between 85° to 100°F. The reproductive cycle of many snakes is prompted by the temperatures they experience.
To induce breeding, most species of snake will need to go through brumation which is an artificial winter. During brumation, snakes build up the strength needed to help them through the birth process.
Snakes usually become sexually active after coming out of hibernation or Winter dormancy – when the temperatures start to rise. So the answer to ‘how to you get snakes to mate in captivity’ requires providing them with some winter temperatures and then warming them again.
To prepare snakes for breeding it is best to at first separate the sexes. A couple of weeks before this ‘hibernation’ or cooling time, you should also stop feeding your snakes before reducing the temperature in the snake enclosure. Daytimes temperatures can now be between 75 to 83°F and night-time temperatures between 70 and 73°F. These cooler temperatures should be maintained for 90 days.
During hibernation, continued darkness is best, and snakes in hibernation shouldn’t be fed at all. This is why it is important to feed them well before they are cooled for the Winter. After the hibernation shed, the female snake can be placed in the male’s cage. A gentle misting which could be likened to the first Spring showers can be effective in stimulating your snake’s reproductive behavior.
Length of Snake Pregnancies
After successful mating, the next question is ‘how long is the pregnancy of a snake’, and the answer is that gestation varies. It will depend on the snake breed. Some snakes gestate for 3 months while others such as the copperheads gestate for 3 to 9 months.
♦ RattleSnake: 167 days
♦ King Cobra: 50 to 59 days
♦ Ball Python: 44 to 54 days
♦ Anaconda: 6 to 7 months
Mixed Breeding – Does it Happen?
Another question that people query with snakes is can one species of snake mate with another species? For instance, can Black snakes mate with Copperheads? If you do research online, you’ll find video footage of two snakes fighting – two different species—a Cottonmouth and a Copperhead. These are both venomous snakes which come from the American Southeast. People have witnessed these snakes wrestling with each other competing for females.
Herpetologists tell us that Cottonmouths and Copperheads are members of the same genus – a closely related species that have been known to mate and bring forth hybrid young.
With Black snakes and Copperheads, however, it’s an impossibility to breed.
This is because –
- These two snake varieties are of different species.
- Chromosome count is important with breeding and the Black snake’s cells differ from those of the copperhead in their number of chromosomes.
- Black snakes are egg laying snakes while Copperheads give birth to live young – all evidence making it impossible for these two snakes to breed.
It’s like when you do research on snakes like the King Cobra mating with other snakes – there is no scientific data supporting hybridization between this particular cobra and other snake species.
Can Venomous Snakes Cross-Breed?
In the animal kingdom, only animals of the same species breed together. When animals are very similar then a couple of animals of different species can occasionally mate. Essentially though, there are limitations to which species can actually interbreed. The offspring are then known as hybrids or crossbreeds. Very often these hybrids are sterile.
The species that can interbreed belong to the same genus. A typical example of this is horses and donkeys. In other cases though, two species can belong to different genera, but still, breed. It’s because they’re part of the same family.
There are always people trying to stir up sensational stories about snakes interbreeding but hardly any of them have been confirmed. Can the King Cobra mate with other snakes is a question snake enthusiasts want to answer. The answer to this question is no, cobras can’t interbreed at all. Even closely related species are unlikely to interbreed either in the wild or in captivity.
Two Closely Related Snakes can Breed
It is probable but more unlikely that some similar snake species interbreed in the wild. In captivity, there are some snake owners who have successfully bred, for instance, king snakes with corn snakes. Their offspring have been fertile. According to the Journal of Herpetology, bull snakes and fox snakes, two colubrids, have been known to interbreed in the wild, even though they belong to different genera.
Speaking of bull snakes, we come back to the question can venomous snakes like the Rattlesnake cross breed with Bull snakes?
Rattlesnakes are venomous and they’re members of the same genus, being genetically very similar to one another. It has been scientifically documented that certain species have in fact interbred, but once again in captivity and in a laboratory. They would not likely breed in the wild. There are no documented cases of a rattlesnake breeding with another kind of snake – venomous or non-venomous. They aren’t similar enough to other kinds of snakes to breed with them.
Snake experts tell us that snakes in different families can’t interbreed and that you will never find a colubrid breeding with a viper and you also won’t find a venomous snake breeding with a non-venomous snake.
How to Breed Snakes – Make Sure they’re Properly Sexed
Many snakes make excellent pets, being quiet for those living in apartments who want to keep a pet. They all differ in size and temperament and the lifespan of snakes in captivity is also variable.
How to breed snakes is something that every novice snake owner wants to know about. After you feel you have the best pair of snakes for breeding, you will need to be 100% sure that the snakes are properly sexed before continuing with your breeding efforts. You will need to be sure you have a male and a female. To determine the sex of the snake, a process called probing is performed.
There are Hazards with Breeding Snakes.
Breeding any snake can be a complex process, but rewarding. It requires knowledge as there are hazards with breeding. There are some snakes for instance that give birth to live young. These tiny snakes will need to be moved to their own enclosures after birth. Some of them are as poisonous as their parents with venom that contains neurotoxins that can cause death.
Breeding can also take its toll on the health of your snake. With the laying process, the weight of the snake can be seriously affected and she can be more prone to the disease at this time.
When getting your first snake, learn all you can about it. There are a number of good beginner snakes with docile temperaments, of which the Corn- and Kingsnake are examples.
Understanding more about Reptiles’ breeding Habits and Cycles
How to breed snakes will require you learning about these reptiles – disease prevention, what equipment is necessary, feeding, heat and light, mating, eggs or live young. As a novice, breeding snakes will require you keeping notes of different details about your snakes. They themselves will need to be in good condition and mature for breeding.
Successful breeding of snakes relies on quite a few factors and isn’t simply a case of putting the male and female together. There is science to snake breeding and you’re going to have to do thorough research to have.
Please read this article on is my snake pregnant.