Ball python lays eggs at St. Louis Zoo, even though it hasn’t been around a male in years



Ball Python, who has been at the zoo since 1961, laid seven eggs on July 23, Mark Vanner, Zoological Manager of Herpetology, told CNN.

“It was a surprise. We didn’t expect him to honestly drop another clutch of eggs,” he said.

The keepers had already noticed some changes in the snake, but the monkey said they were subtle.

The zoo does not have a snake name, but is identified by the number 361003. She believes she was at least 62 years old.

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Ball pythons are native to central and western Africa and can breed asexually, known as facultative parthenogenesis, the zoo said. The monkey said that the Komodo dragons and some other snakes and reptiles also breed asexually.

Females can also store sperm for delayed fertilization, but Wanner said the longest documented case is that they were occurring seven years after the contact was found.

She laid another egg clutch back in 2009, but none of those eggs went to hatch and there is no record of her being male.

Wanner said she may have been with a male in the late 1980s and early 1990s because keepers put snakes together in buckets while cleaning their cages.

“We’re saying more than 15 years, but I mean, it’s probably closer to 30 years because he’s physically with a male,” he said.

Scientists will perform genetic testing on two eggs.

Warner said he took two eggs for genetic testing to determine whether the eggs breed sexually or asexually. Two more eggs have died and the remaining three are being charged.

He said that they are hoping to get the test results back in about a month.

“We can’t wait for samples to actually be tested to get that information because it will end any hearings or what we might think or might happen,” he said.

Wanner said that eggs are about half past their incubation.

“If they continue to live and continue to develop, we expect hatching to occur in the next two to three weeks.” “We have crossed our fingers that one of these animals will hatch, but we don’t know for sure.”

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