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 kingsnakes, pine snakes and pythons, lay eggs. Other snakes, like boas, rattlesnakes and garter snakes, give birth to live young directly. 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 bird eggs. 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.
Are snake eggs similar to bird eggs?
Snake eggs and bird eggs can be similar in color, shape and size. Bird and snake eggs 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 snake eggs apart from bird eggs. Even some bird species lay their eggs on the ground. As most snake species abandon their eggs after delivering them, you will not be able to tell if they are snake eggs by the presence of a snake. Equally, if you do see a snake, 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 bird's eggs. Ostriches can lay over fifty eggs in one clutch (batch of eggs), but it is rare to find them in the wild.
How to differentiate snake eggs from bird eggs
One way to differentiate snake eggs from bird eggs 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. Bird's eggs are brittle, but snake eggs will have a little give if you apply some pressure. Most bird's eggs will be oval, similar to a chicken egg in shape 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 the egg 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.
Snake eggs usually hatch in about 60 days, although each snake species 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 being snake eggs and not bird eggs.
What to do if you find snake 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.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to a vet if it has any type of condition or pain.
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