What Do Snake Eggs Look Like?
We’ve all seen snakes. And yes; we know that they are scary and we all have bad stories about them. But let’s ask; have you ever come across a snake egg before? If you had, how sure were you that you’ve got the right egg? Well, in this article, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about snake eggs.
Do Snakes Lay Eggs?
Unlike many people believed, not all snakes lay eggs. But a large percentage of the snake family do. In scientific terms, we say they’re oviparous. Among those snakes that do not lay eggs, some can give birth to their young ones alive using viviparous methods. Some others first hatch the eggs within their body.
After a short while, the young snakes pierce the skin of the mother to get the outside world. Experts describe such snakes as being ovoviviparous. For those snakes that lay eggs, the laying season varies according to the species, the size, and what they feed on. But on average, most snakes should be able to lay eggs at about 2 – 3 years old.
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Where Do Snakes Lay Eggs?
After a snake has got laid, the next thing for it is to secure a safe place to lay the eggs. However, compared to other reptilians, snakes are less picky when it comes to choosing their foster homes. But generally, most snakes bury their eggs. This is because the warmth within the ground helps to provide the right temperature for the eggs. Although, very few snake species like the pine snakes hide their eggs deep within sand tunnels.
Other places where you will find snakes eggs include:
- Loose soil rich in moisture
However, we think you should know that some snake species don’t have specific places where they lay their eggs. Anywhere they see goes. Some snake species like the king cobras and the pythons even prefer to shed off their motherly duties by abandoning their babies. Now, the funniest thing is that they can lay up to thousands of eggs within a single clutch.
What Do Snake Eggs Look Like?
To identify snake eggs, you need to examine certain characteristics. This is because oftentimes, snake eggs due to their size and some other obscure features can resemble chicken eggs to the amateur eyes. In fact, some people even mistake it for lizard eggs.
But if you look close enough and pay attention to the relative size, looks, and toughness, you might just be able to tell the difference. In this article, we will look at those different criteria in the following details:
In terms of hardness, snake eggs are soft and fragile. So, they should be handled with care. If the egg you touched or rather, lifted feels hard, then there’s a high chance that you just found an avian egg. If it feels leathery, then, bullseye; it’s probably a snake egg.
To be sure, you can scrutinize it more under a bright source of light in a dark space. That way, you would be able to glimpse the scrambled shape of the embryo. But remember, the mother may be nearby and may be venomous. So, you need to do this really fast.
Aside from the fear of impending doom, the eggs need to be replaced as soon as possible because taking them out means you have tampered with their optimum temperature. If the snake eggs stay too long outside their natural incubator, the embryo on the inside may die.
When it comes to snake eggs, the shape varies according to the species. But using a general scale, snake eggs appear to have oblong shapes. In America; both North and South, snake eggs appear like avian eggs.
But for the snakes in Asia, their eggs look quite irregular. One time, they may resemble ginger roots. At other times, eggs of Asian eggs may look like grains of rice. We are talking in terms of shapes, of course.
3) Color and Appearance.
You see, snake eggs, like most of the eggs of any other oviparous animals, are white. This white color may come in different hues like off-white or even beige. But the basic essence is still the same.
However, sometimes, many people do report seeing snake eggs that are green or even blue in color. So, if you come across the same, and you’ve confirmed under the light that it is indeed a snake egg, don’t be alarmed. It’s not impossible. But the thing is, a colored egg is a sign that it is on the brink of early death.
Oftentimes, such a worst-case scenario can be caused by an infected embryo or even mold. So, if you see a colored egg, it’s either on the brink of death or it perhaps isn’t a snake egg.
Snake eggs have a considerably big size. But this size varies from species to species and from one developmental stage to another. If the egg is young, of course, it would be small; roughly about 1 inch. But the older it gets, it draws in more water. Hence, it gets bigger.
The biggest of all snake eggs can be found in the python family; almost up to 5 inches. Compared to lizard and turtle eggs, snake eggs are much bigger! So, here’s a quick list of snake species and the size of their eggs. Make sure you scan through this because it might give you an idea of whether your snake is venomous or not. Here we go:
- Ball Python – Ball pythons, aka, royal pythons are non-venomous. This is mostly because like most of the other snakes in the python family, they kill by constriction. In terms of size, ball python eggs can be anything between 3 – 4 inches max.
- Eastern Brown Snake – Eastern brown snakes are ranked to be the second-most venomous snakes on earth. In fact, many scientists agree that their venom contains a cocktail of toxins that can kill a man in minutes. Yet, the eggs of eastern brown snakes are just about 2 inches long.
- Garter Snake – Long before 2000, garter snakes were classified to be non-venomous. Today, several vials of neurotoxins have been extracted from their fangs. Though, these can’t fatally harm us, humans. When it comes to the size of garter snake eggs, anything between 2 and 3 inches is the average.
- Black Snake – “Blacksnake” is a name that refers to any snake that’s black in color. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if we say you can find them all over the globe. Generally, they are venomous. As for the size of black snake eggs, anything between 2 – 5 inches is confirmatory. Like most snake eggs, black snake eggs look
- Grass Snake – Grass snakes, aka ringed Ringed Snakes, are non-venomous. Oftentimes, their eggs are found among decaying vegetables. And when talking about size, grass snake eggs are small. So, you can find them to be less than 2 inches long. Oftentimes, grass snakes hatch their eggs around.
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Comparison of Snake Eggs and Other Eggs of other Oviparous Animals.
According to science, all external eggs have some basic features in common. Some of these similarities include the shell, the nutrient fluids, and the embryo. But despite the similarities, snake eggs seem to stand out. In the following sections, we will look at some of the special features that mark a clear line between snake eggs and other eggs like lizard eggs, turtle eggs, and chicken eggs.
1) Chicken Eggs Vs. Snake Eggs.
Aside from the eggs from American eggs, snake eggs look quite different from the eggs laid by chickens. And, we have more than one difference to prove it. First off, snake eggs are laid below the ground or anywhere that does not directly kiss the sun’s radiation.
Such places include decaying poops of other animals, loose soil, or even dead logs. The reason for this is that snakes are poikilothermic animals. That means they are cold-blooded. As such, their bodies always vary with the ambient temperature in a way that can harm the embryo.
On the flip side, chicken eggs are often found in sheltered places above the ground. This is because, unlike snakes, chickens are warm-blooded. As such, they don’t have to worry about the unstable variations in ambient temperature. Even if the variations happen, the mother hen would always use its body heat to incubate the eggs.
Aside from the difference in the location of their incubators, snake eggs, and chicken eggs also differ in terms of shape. Generally, chicken eggs are round and are often laid with hard shells. However, snake eggs are laid with soft, leathery shells with oblong shapes. So, during handling, you need to be gentler with snake eggs.
2) Snake Eggs Vs. Lizard Eggs.
Like snakes, not all lizards are oviparous. For the species of lizards that lay eggs, it can become quite confusing to tell the eggs apart from snake eggs of equal sizes. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise. Because like snakes, lizards are also reptiles. But despite this difficulty in identification, there is a thing or two that can help you out.
For one, most lizard species tend to be small. So, their eggs tend to be much smaller than the typical snake egg. Although, some lizards like the white tegu are very large. For the big lizards, their eggs also are as big as they come. In fact, some of these lizard eggs can reach over 1 inch in size. Unless the snake belongs to the python family or is an anaconda, we are sorry to tell you that it’s quite hard to tell a big lizard egg from that of a snake.
3) Snake Eggs Vs. Turtle Eggs.
While snake eggs have oblong shapes, turtle eggs tend to come in all around. But then again, this can vary from species to species. So, the shape is not really a distinct marker. However, if you’re good with colors, telling snake and turtle eggs apart should be easier because turtle eggs tend to be much creamier than white.
Not only that, turtle eggs are smaller than snake eggs. Sometimes, the eggs can be leathery. Other times, it may be hard like chicken eggs. But all in all, it all depends on the amount of water that the eggs absorb.
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What to Do with Snake Eggs?
If you live in areas prone to snakes, snake eggs shouldn’t be hard to come by. For some of us who are not wildlife experts, what do we do with it? Well… the answer is a bit tricky. So, we will implore you to read this carefully. You see, even though we’ve talked about how some species of snakes look, other factors determine whether they’re poisonous or not. Even if they’re not, snakes are carnivores. That means, even without venom, they can harm you.
So, when you spot a snake egg or eggs, you first need to be sure it’s not in a location anywhere close to residential areas or places where people frequent. If it’s along an isolated bush trail or someplace similar, then your best course of action is to just leave the snake eggs alone. No touching, okay?
If otherwise, then try to reach a wildlife center nearby for removal assistance. Kindly note that even if you can remove the snake eggs, the adult snake may be around the corner to avenge them. If you’re unlocking to lock horns or rather fangs, with a venomous mom, well… it’s all on you. So, better safe than sorry, right?
Why Do Snake Eggs Stick Together?
Python eggs are often sighted to stick to one another. Together, they form one large ball of smaller eggs. For many years, many people thought this was a mystery. But the reason why pythons lay their eggs this way is rather motherly.
You see, for snakes, laying individual eggs is oftentimes, a problem. This is because the snake eggs can easily roll away. Worst still, individual snake eggs are quite easy for snake predators to snatch. To prevent this, pythons, somehow, evolved a way to use their body warmth to incubate their eggs.
As they do this, they shaver and hence, squeeze the eggs together. In the end, the soft eggs stick together due to the heating pressure on the shells. From what we know, scientists call this phenomenon, “Egg Brooding.”
Now, with all that said and done, let’s wrap this article up on a strong note. Snake eggs are adorable. They are edible. But don’t for these reasons alone tamper with a snake’s lair. Safety first!