A 62-year-old python at the St. Louis Zoo laid seven eggs and she didn’t need a man to do it.The snake, who goes by number 361003, hadn’t been near a male in at the very least 15 years.“It was a surprise. We didn’t expect her to drop another clutch of eggs, honestly,” Mark Wanner, the St. Louis Zoo’s Zoological Manager of Herpetology told CNN.
The zoo’s staff noticed changes in the snake’s behavior beforehand but didn’t think she was going to drop that clutch on behalf of her age.“She’d definitely be the oldest snake we know of in history (to lay eggs),” Wanner told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.It’s a process known as facultative parthenogenesis.
The longest anyone has seen a female carry sperm was seven years.
The last time this snake would have been with a male was in the late 80s or early 90s.
“We’re saying 15 plus years, but I mean, it’s probably easily closer to 30 years since she’s been physically with a male,” Wanner said.
The other two eggs didn’t survive. The ball pythons get their name for the way they roll up in a ball to protect their heads when they are threatened.
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