How To Identify Snake Eggs Properly

How To Identify Snake Eggs Properly

Snake eggs are likely to be found in cold, dark and isolated places; usually buried under the soil for safety during their incubation. Most snake species, like king snakes, pine snakes and pythons, lay eggs. Others, like boas, rattlesnakes and garter snakes, give birth to live young. That means that the babies develop inside their mother. The former group is oviparous, while the latter species fall into the category of ovoviviparous reptiles. If you come across eggs in the wildlife or your own backyard, you'll probably be wondering how to tell reptile eggs apart from birds'. At oneHOWTO we'll give you some easy tips on how to identify snake eggs properly so that you know what are you dealing with.

You may also be interested in: When Do Snake Eggs Hatch
  1. Are snake eggs similar to birds'?
  2. How to differentiate a snake egg from a bird's
  3. What to do if you find them

Are snake eggs similar to birds'?

Snake eggs and bird eggs can be similar in color, shape and size. They can both be round or oval. The color of the eggshells also is not a reliable identification, as both types can be white, off-white, or beige.Not even their location is an effective way to tell them apart. Even some bird species lay them on the ground. As most snake species abandon their eggs after delivering them, you will not be able to tell if they belong to snake, just by the presence of one. Equally, if you do see one, it is possible they are hunting for food.Snakes can lay anywhere between 1 and 100 eggs at a time. This can be even more if you have a giant snake like an anaconda. If you see dozens of eggs, they are unlikely to be from birds. Ostriches can lay over fifty in one clutch (batch of eggs), but it is rare to find them in the wild.

How to differentiate a snake egg from a bird's

One way to differentiate between them is by touch. Snake eggs are soft and leathery on the outside, while bird eggs are hard. A gentle touch can give you some idea in the initial inspection. Birds' eggs are brittle, but snakes' will have a little give if you apply some pressure. Most birds' eggs will be oval, a similar shape to a chicken's, even if bigger or smaller in size. Snake eggs can also come in this oval shape, but not all of them do. Some look a lot like tubers (potatoes) or even long ginger roots. Their texture won't necessarily be completely smooth and may have little growths on it.To identify a snake egg, carefully hold it in your hands. Even though they are not as hard as bird's eggs they can still break. View it against a torchlight, in a dark room with the lights out if possible. The shell will be translucent and you will be able to see a silhouette of a ball-shaped embryo. This is a process known as "candling" and can be very useful.They usually hatch in about 60 days, although each species of snake is different. As the embryo grows and develops and becomes close to hatching, the egg becomes more oval-shaped. For more specific information on the different snake species that lay eggs, take a look at our article on when do snake eggs hatch.Some snake species lay hundreds of eggs at the same time. The presence of such huge numbers at one place is a sure sign of them belonging to a snake and not a bird.

How To Identify Snake Eggs Properly - How to differentiate a snake egg from a bird's

What to do if you find them

First of all you should know that not all snake eggs lay eggs. Few snakes are around until the eggs hatch. Most snake species abandon the eggs immediately, and the newborn snakes are left to fend for themselves.

If you happen to spot snake eggs in your garden, you might want to get an expert opinion from a professional wildlife expert. It’s good to know what’s lurking in your backyard and take the necessary steps to keep you and your family safe. Although snakes are usually shy, if they feel threatened, they can attack human beings. Needless to say, some snake species are extremely dangerous and can be fatal to human beings. Take a look at how to treat a snake bite in the wild for more information.

If you want to read similar articles to How To Identify Snake Eggs Properly, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
My child found soft shell egg in the backyard (May,4,2022). What it could be? It that a snake egg?
We have a pictures.
Beth G.
In my neighbors backyard I came across an egg about 3 - 4 " below the surface, in sandy soil. The shell was soft, beige-pinkish, and my hand tool opened one end of it accidentally. The egg is about 3 inches oblong, and when I looked inside, there was a white colored substance in the middle, surrounded by clear goo. About an hour later the hole closed up, and I left the egg on the surface of some weeds. Is this a snake egg? What kind of snake?
Matthew Nesbitt (oneHOWTO editor)
Hi Beth,

We cannot identify the egg from your message. Have you been able to check it against the guidelines in the article?
Jack Allen
Found a small box of furniture nails with dozens of tiny chicken egg shaped white eggs all hatched. It has been in our shed for at least 10 years I would say. Assuming they are from a snake since they are too big and too many for any lizard I have ever seen around here. The eggs are sort of hummingbird size. Any idea???
I had a white chicken egg shaped thing in my planter of tomato plants, I thought it was some sort of mushroom, so pulled it out of the dirt, place it on the ground and smushed it, it was rubber like and had some rubber yellow things on the inside (about 3). Was it a snake egg? The pplanter is about 25” tall
Sheila warneke
The article was very helpful in identifying the egg we found. Also very interesting and helpful
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Sheila, we are so glad we could be of help!
While digging around in the dirt, I found 3 tiny (smaller than a quarter) leathery, oval eggs. I’ve poked holes in the top of Tupperware, filled it with some soil that I dug from where they were laid, and put the eggs in. I candled them and all three have what appears to be developing veins and a developing embryo. There is a hurricane coming to where I live in a few days. So I decided to keep them either until they hatch, or until the hurricane is done and I can but their eggs back outside. I think there might be more in that same spot. What do I do?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Alyssa

We recommend contacting your loca wildlife care group as soon as possible as snake eggs require an incubator.
We found eggs on a bank in a hole they are soft and rubbery can this be some type of snake eggs or a turtle eggs maybe box turtle ?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Amanda,

We aren't there to inspect them, but it is possible, especially if they are leathery. You should contact local animal services if you are worried about them or there is a potential hazard.
Did the southern African python look after its young babies?
I found some eggs in my yard. Not sure sure what they are. I have pictures of them if anyone could help me identify them. My email is XXX@XXX.XXX
I can reply back with pictures of them.
I've tried to get ahold of a local wildlife expert but haven't had any luck.
OneHowTo Editor
You can send us the picture at and our animal expert will reply if that would help.
Carol A Siddall
Found a clutch of 15 leathery elongated eggs about 8 inches deep. I am concerned (we live in northeast Arkansas) that they may be copperhead eggs.
OneHowTo Editor
We'd advise you to call your local wildlife officer, as an expert will be able to examine the eggs and tell if they are in fact from a copperhead snake.
copperheads do not lay eggs, they carry their embryos until they give live birth.
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Steve

Thank you for this very informative information!
We will keep this in mind here at oneHOWTO.
Patrick roy
Anacondas are boas and do not lay eggs.
Harshal Balokar
I see some snake egg in my crop in land but it has attached to each other & total eggs are 15
i see some snake eggs out side my little cousin sade they are not theu are
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How To Identify Snake Eggs Properly