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Nature & Environment

Mystery as lone python suddenly lays eggs

By T.K. Randall
September 12, 2020 · Comment icon 40 comments

The snake was photographed with her clutch of eggs. Image Credit: Twitter / Saint Louis Zoo
An elderly female snake that hasn't been near a male in 15 years has inexplicably laid a clutch of eggs.
The python, which at 62 years of age is believed to be the oldest known snake in captivity, resides at St Louis zoo where she has remained isolated from other snakes for well over a decade.

Out of the seven eggs, three have been placed in an incubator, two have been used for genetic sampling and the other two did not survive.

It is estimated that the surviving eggs could hatch within a month.
Exactly how the snake ended up laying eggs despite its isolation isn't clear, however it is not unheard of for pythons to reproduce asexually or to store sperm for long periods of time.

It is hoped that the genetic sampling will reveal which of these two possibilities is most likely.

One thing's for certain - the python, which is known only as 361003, is the oldest snake on record ever to have laid eggs, making her a record breaker one way or the other.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (40)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #31 Posted by openozy 4 years ago
It sounds a bit high.The worst thing about this is it makes males almost obsolete,lol.
Comment icon #32 Posted by Rolltide 4 years ago
Hey! That's my line..     ----------------------
Comment icon #33 Posted by psyche101 4 years ago
The rabbits were artificially induced. Not sure how they do that, but I don't think a mammal has ever produced a viable offspring. The link I read said the chickens rarely live past 8 days. Lack of genetic material creates a poor offspring. I suspect the offspring is more like a natural clone of the parent than actual offspring.
Comment icon #34 Posted by psyche101 4 years ago
That's high, but good call to cookie I have to say to bring it up at all.
Comment icon #35 Posted by openozy 4 years ago
Maybe they are born the genetic age of the parent and their organs can't cope.
Comment icon #36 Posted by psyche101 4 years ago
I'm pretty sure it's more to do with weak genetics. Like inbreeding. 
Comment icon #37 Posted by openozy 4 years ago
I just remember Dolly the sheep,her clone was born as a 5 year old sheep,Dolly's age.
Comment icon #38 Posted by psyche101 4 years ago
That was just the press misrepresenting information again. The Roslin Institute set the record straight there. Several other sheep were cloned from the same source and lived full lives. 
Comment icon #39 Posted by openozy 4 years ago
When you think about it it is sort of the closest form of inbreeding,the parent would only need a slight fault and the offspring are doomed.I've heard of a strain of mice that are bred brother to sister every gen and are healthy and produce large litters.That is some seriously dedicated animal husbandry.
Comment icon #40 Posted by psyche101 4 years ago
Yeah cheetahs are also a good example. After a bottleneck they were reduced to a very small population and still have serious genetic problems.

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