scheduled tribe. LOUIS (AP) – Experts at the St. Louis Zoo are trying to find out how a 62-year-old ball dragon laid seven eggs despite not having a male dragon for at least two decades.
Mark Vanner, manager of Heretology at the zoo, said it is unusual but not uncommon for a ball dragon to reproduce abnormally. Snakes sometimes store sperm even for delayed fertilization.
Wanner said the birth is also unusual because ball pythons usually stop laying eggs before they reach their 60s.
“He would certainly be the oldest snake in history,” said Wainer, who is the oldest snake in a zoo to date.
The dragon, which has not been given a name, laid eggs on 23 July. Three of the eggs live in an incubator, two were used for genetic sampling and the other two eggs did not have snakes alive, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Eggs that survive should be reared in about a month.
Genetic sampling would suggest that the eggs were sexually or asexually bred, known as facultative pathogenesis.
The only other ball dragon in the zoo’s herterium is a male who is about 31. Snakes are not on public view.
In 1961 the private owner gave the female to the zoo. She gave a group of eggs in 2009 that were not alive. Another clutch was born in 1990, but those eggs were probably conceived with a male because at that time the snakes were kept together in buckets while the keepers cleaned their cages.