After buying my first set of snake eggs, I wondered how long it would take for those eggs to hatch, so I did a little research and I’ve written it up to share with you.
So, how long does it take for snake eggs to hatch? The time it takes for snake eggs to hatch depends on the breed, with some snake eggs hatching in as little as 45 days, and others taking 90 days. The most common length of time it takes for a snake egg to hatch is 57 days. If you think your snake egg has hatched but your snake isn’t coming out, don’t worry, as sometimes snakes will stay in their eggs for a few days after to use up the nutrients found there.
Knowing about how long it will take for your snake eggs to hatch is awesome and relieves some stress. It is also helpful to know how to incubate snake eggs and even where you can go to get snake eggs if you wanted to. It’s cool to look at how we keep snake eggs protected and can lead one to wonder how snakes do it in the wild.
Hatching Age of Different Snake Species
Not all snake species have eggs that hatch in the same amount of time. In fact, the time can vary widely, as shown in the table below.
|Average Time to Hatch
|Number of Eggs
|18 – 50
|8 – 30
|Cal. King Snake
|5 – 15
|4 – 10
|5 – 15
|Asian Beauty Snakes
|10 – 20
|20 – 80
|10 – 20
Oviparous (egg-laying) snakes make up 70% of all snakes. About 25% of snakes are viviparous (give live birth), and then some snake species grow an egg in the mother but then are born live (ovoviviparous).
How to Care for Snake Eggs While Waiting for them to Hatch
There are two really effective ways to incubate snake eggs. One is purchasing a commercial incubator and the other is to make one yourself at home.
Whichever route you decide to take there are a few guidelines that can help the successfulness of your incubator.
- Whether you make it at home or buy it, you always want to make sure you have your incubator running about 48 hours in advance before placing the snake eggs inside. This helps the climate inside to equal out before the snakes are introduced.
- You want to make sure that you have two thermometers checking the temperature at all times, and it is best if the climate is controlled by one of those thermometers.
- It is best to have some sort of water bath in your incubator to make sure that there is enough humidity for the developing snakes. Most commercial incubators come with one, but if you’re making it at home you might want to find a way to suspend the container the eggs are in, in a water bath.
Purchasing Snake Eggs During the Incubation Period
Purchasing snake eggs can be very difficult and complicated. Some eggs are not available for purchase because they could carry diseases, and selling certain types of eggs can even be illegal. Those eggs that are legal to sell must be handled with great care when purchasing.
Unlike poultry eggs that can wait a few days before being incubated, and thus can be shipped, snake eggs are delicate and need to be incubated quickly after they are laid. It is best to find a pregnant snake in your area whose eggs you can collect right after they are laid.
Because they are delicate when transporting them back to your home, you must be careful to never let them turn them over. Marking the upright side can be a good tip to help you remember how the snake should be oriented.
Do Snakes Incubate their Eggs Before Hatching?
When raising snake eggs of your own, you have to be very gentle and work hard to make sure the environment stays perfect for the baby snakes developing inside. Sadly, in the wild, few developing snake eggs get this kind of treatment.
Most snake eggs, once laid, are left on their own to hopefully survive. But, there are a few exceptions to this rule. There are some breeds of pythons which will actually wrap their bodies around the eggs and continually contract their muscles to produce heat. Or, they will go sunbathe and then come back to the nest letting the heat from their bodies warm the eggs.
There are some types of vipers which also stay with their hatchlings after they are born until they have experienced their first shedding. As for snakes that do not provide help for their developing eggs- before hatching, the female snake will find a spot that seems to be the best place to develop and she will lay her eggs there before leaving.
When is the Right Time to Help Your Snake Hatch?
Once you have your eggs all snuggled together and developing for around 52 days, the hatching process might begin. All snakes develop differently, and some develop faster than others. In general, all of your viable eggs should start hatching within the same 48 hour period, started off by the first snake to hatch.
There may be an egg in your batch where the snake doesn’t pip through and it may cause some alarm for you. There really aren’t any guidelines for when to assist a snake hatch, but if the snake hasn’t pipped, and it has been 48 hours since the first snake hatched, help might be needed.
A baby snake might not be strong enough to break the shell on their own and could die, so if you desire to help, you could make a small cut in the shell.
This can be dangerous if you were to nick the snake or damage the membranes (or yolk) that the snake uses to survive. Assisting your snake hatch can be dangerous but is sometimes needed to protect the life of a weak hatchling.
What Kind of Snakes Lay Eggs?
The only types of snakes that don’t lay eggs are vipers. This includes snakes like Boa constrictors and green anacondas, but snakes like rat snakes, cobras, mambas, and grass snakes all fall into the norm of egg laying.
How many eggs does a snake lay at a time? Some species of snakes lay about 100 eggs in one clutch and some breeds can lay over 100. There are some snakes though that lay about 25 egg in their clutch but will usually have two batches of eggs during the season.
How many years can snakes live? Normally snakes that grow big live longer, so bigger snakes like boa constrictors can live from 25-50 years. Middle snakes, like colubirds, live 15-25 years, and then smaller snake species live around 5-10 years.