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Nature & Environment

Virgin birth snake produces more offspring

By T.K. Randall
September 20, 2015 · Comment icon 7 comments

Some animals have been known to give birth through parthenogenesis. Image Credit: PD - Whkoh
A female snake has given birth to young for the second time in two years without a male's contribution.
According to officials at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center in south-east Missouri, the captive yellow-bellied water snake had previously given birth back in the summer of last year before going on to do so again this year - both times without ever having mated with a male.

Virgin births like this are extremely rare however they have been known to happen from time to time through parthenogenesis - a process through which babies can be produced from unfertilized eggs.
There is also the possibility that the snake may have stored sperm from a male that it encountered before it was captured eight years ago. Given that most female snakes can only store sperm for up to a year however ( with the record being around three years ) this explanation seems unlikely.

"Whether this is long-term storage or parthenogenesis, it's cool," said naturalist Michelle Randecker.

"Just another sign that nature works in mysterious ways.”

Source: The Guardian | Comments (7)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by freetoroam 9 years ago
should name her Mary.
Comment icon #2 Posted by GreenmansGod 9 years ago
Comment icon #3 Posted by Athena1979 9 years ago
If this happened to humans, it would be a whole new episode on Maury.
Comment icon #4 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
If this happened to humans, it would be a whole new episode on Maury. And we'd have a religious upheaval. Which off-spring was the 2nd coming of Jesus?
Comment icon #5 Posted by Ashyne 9 years ago
Parthenogenesis, not miracles of god, is what happened with virgin mary.
Comment icon #6 Posted by KaysonMire 9 years ago
I love this story... But I really love snakes. It would be incredulous if they could actually tell us whether the snake had retained sperm from years past or not though...
Comment icon #7 Posted by cerberusxp 9 years ago
This reminds me of a line in the movie Jurassic Park, Jeff Goldblum says: "Life__ finds a way".

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