What Do You Call Baby Snakes?

Snakelets are the young snakes. A snake that hatches from an egg is known as a hatchling, while snakes that give live birth are known as neonates. Snakes are found on every continent except Antarctica, and there are over 3,000 different species.

Approximately 70% of snake species are oviparous, which means they lay eggs in shells. Snake eggs are leathery rather than firm, and they are often stored in a dark, warm, and humid environment. While many snake species abandon their eggs right away, others protect them from predators and incubate them using their body heat.

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Eggs of Snakes

Kingsnakes, rat snakes, grass snakes, mambas, adders, and cobras are examples of oviparous snakes. The king cobra is remarkable in that it constructs a nest for its eggs and may remain to defend them even after they hatch. Many types of boas also guard their eggs until they hatch.

Snake Reproduction

Other snakes are viviparous, which means they produce live young. Reptiles rarely give birth in this manner. To feed themselves while they are young, these snakes produce a placenta (a soft membrane) and yolk sack. This method has the advantage of keeping the snakes inside the mother’s body until they can withstand colder temperatures on their own.

Vivarious snakes include boa constrictors and green anacondas.

A Snake of a Third Kind

Some snakes are viviparous and oviparous in nature. The shells do not become stiff and firm when they are pregnant, and the mother does not lay the eggs anywhere. Instead, she stores the eggs in her body until they hatch, at which point the young leave. They are ovoviviparous snakes.

The rattlesnake is an example of this type of snake. Ovoviviparous snakes, like snakes that give live birth, abandon their young quickly. This is why baby rattlesnakes are venomous from the start, as they need to protect themselves.

Snakelets with Venom

You may have heard that venomous snakelets are more deadly than adults because they can’t regulate how much venom they inject or because their venom is stronger. Fortunately, this is not the case. Snakelets’ venom sacs contain far less venom than adult snakes’ since they are so much smaller. Even if a baby snake released all of its venom at once, the dose would be far lower than that of an adult.

According to studies, larger snakes produce more venomous snakebites. There is also no evidence that adult snakes are more likely than snakelets to choose not to inject venom during a bite.

Snake Development

All snakes swiftly adapt to the world once they leave their shell or mother’s body. Baby rattlesnakes already have the first button on their rattle, and venomous snakes are born ready to use their poison. They start hunting for their own food right away, and most species can have snakelets two years after birth.

The sexual maturity of larger species might take up to four or five years. Once they reach that point, snakes tend to develop more slowly, and they continue to grow at a slower rate for the rest of their lives.

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


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