I didn’t know a lot about this since I’ve never owned a Python before, but I did some research to find out more about how long it takes Python eggs to hatch and how likely those babies are to survive.
So, how long does it take for python eggs to hatch? Whether artificially incubated or maternally incubated, it generally only takes a clutch (a group of eggs laid by a Python) between 50 to 65 days to hatch. The survival rate largely depends on the temperature of the habitat the python eggs are in.
There are many factors and situations that change the hatch time and survival rate of python eggs. Keep reading to learn all about them.
How Python Eggs Hatch
Female Pythons are capable of keeping their eggs warm by constricting their body when the temperature around them is not ideal. Just like with any animal, the survival rate can very simply depend on the snake’s genetics. One Python embryo may not be as strong as another, but creating a proper habitat can improve survival rate. In the end, the survival rate is not cut and dry.
Maternal vs. Artificial Incubation
While some snake owners trust the female snake to care for her clutch, other snake owners prefer a more hands-on approach to raising their snake’s young. It should be noted that there is no difference in hatch time between the two methods.
Female Pythons are known for their ability to care for their eggs after they are laid. Unlike some species of snake, a female Python will typically stay with her clutch till they hatch, making sure they are protected and warm.
Though you may worry about the female Python’s ability to warm the clutch, since snakes are cold-blooded animals, you can be reassured in knowing that thousands of years of evolution have made sure that female Pythons are capable of warming their eggs.
A female Python will often coil around here eggs and remain with them the entire time of their incubation, refusing to eat the whole time. To control the temperature and make sure it remains optimal, she will constrict her body to generate heat. Sometimes, you may need to provide some basking light so that your Python remains warm as well.
As she gets closer to the end of the incubation period, she may loosen her coils to allow the eggs to reach a better temperature for hatching.
If you decide to use an artificial incubator to care for the clutch, try not to let temperature or humidity fluctuate too much because this can damage the embryos and lead to a lower survival rate.
Another element you have to keep in mind is what method you will use to incubate the eggs. Are you going to use a thermostat, a reptile incubator fan, or a completely out-of-the-ordinary method? Whatever you choose, be aware of the downfalls of each.
A thermostat will definitely have some temperature fluctuation while a reptile incubator fan will vary in warmth depending on which eggs are close to the fan and which aren’t. Do not use incubators meant for poultry to warm your clutch.
For more crucial and interesting information on Maternal and Artificial methods of Python incubation, visit reptilesmagazine.com.
How the Environment can Increase the Clutch Survival Rate
Nesting, or creating a nest box, is a key part of a Python’s successful incubation, especially if you are going to go with the maternal incubation method.
A nest box is simply a place where the female Python can go to lay her eggs and incubate them. Set this box up several weeks before the female is due to lay her eggs. The female Python may spend a lot of time in the nest box before the eggs are ready for laying.
Temperature is by far the biggest determiner of survival in Python young. If the temperature is too low or too high, the embryos may not survive to hatching. Also, if there is too much fluctuation of temperature during the incubation process, the Python young may die.
When you incubate the Pythons artificially, you have to be vigilant about temperature control. As I mentioned above, female Pythons are capable of controlling the temperatures of their clutch with their body.
The ideal temperature for a clutch of snakes is around 88-90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, there are slight variations between species. Research what your particular Python needs in advance so you can make accommodations beforehand.
Humidity control is similar to temperature control in that you need to understand what is best for your particular Python species. Generally, 90-100% humidity is best for Python eggs. It is also good to test how your container or nesting box will react to humidity and heat before your Python is ready to lay her eggs.
Caring for Your Python’s Young
Once a clutch of Python young hatch, the mother no longer cares for them, so it is up to you to provide for these captive bred young. But, how exactly do you do that? Don’t worry, I’ve researched some basic tips that will help you get started raising your new little Pythons.
When you start to see the brand new little snake slash through the shell of its egg, you might be tempted to help it out by removing it from the egg. Even though you have good intentions, removing the hatchlings might damage the umbilical cord and your new little snake. Leave the young alone as they fight their way out of their shells.
However, once one baby Python breaks though, you can be sure that the other ones will follow closely behind. At this point, gently separate the eggs, being careful not to rotate them, so that the other young have a good chance of breaking out of their shells.
You should move the baby snakes to their own habitat, furnished with a water dish, hiding place, and paper towels, after they hatch. This will ensure their safety and security.
Your newly hatched Pythons will not be ready to eat till about ten days after hatching. Also within those first 7 to 10 days, your baby Pythons will shed for the first time.
This may also vary depending on the species of Python you are raising. Be sure to research the appropriate foods for your species of newly hatched Python.
Whatever method you choose, it is important to be prepared. Snake birth is a wonderful thing, and it’s important to stay vigilant when making preparations for the new arrivals.
How many eggs does a python lay? A female Python may lay as many as 100 eggs, but it is more common for them to lay around 35 eggs. However, not all eggs may hatch or survive the hatching process.
What snakes give birth to live babies? While about 70% of snake species lay eggs, most vipers, boa constrictors, and anacondas give birth to live young. However, once the snake young are born, the mother leaves them to fend for themselves. This is why many of the live young have ways to defend themselves, such as fangs and venom.
Do female Ball Pythons lay eggs without a male? Female Ball Pythons will only lay eggs if they have been fertilized by a male Ball Python, meaning that there is an offspring inside. This is different than chickens, who lay eggs regardless of male fertilization. However, a few rare cases of Ball Pythons producing eggs without a male have been recorded.