A 62-year-old ball python at the St. Louis Zoo has laid seven eggs despite not seeing a male python for at least 20 years, the zoo said.
A python giving birth asexually is unusual, but not necessarily rare, said the zoo’s manager of herpetology Mark Wanner according to the Associated Press. Pythons are also capable of storing sperm for fertilization at a later date. (RELATED: Tiger Tests Positive For COVID-19 At Bronx Zoo)
Experts at the St. Louis Zoo are trying to figure out how a 62-year-old ball python laid seven eggs despite not being near a male python for at least two decades.https://t.co/6TuAODZN7X
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) September 10, 2020
Wanner said that the birth is also unusual due to the snake’s age. Pythons usually stop giving birth at a much younger age than 60, he told the AP.
The python is the oldest snake that has ever been at a zoo, and “she’d definitely be the oldest snake we know of in history” to give birth, Wanner told the outlet.
Three of the eggs, which were laid July 23, are in an incubator. Two are being used for genetic testing and two did not survive, the St. Louis Dispatch reported. The surviving eggs are expected to hatch in a month.
The genetic sampling — called “facultative parthenogenesis” — will be able to tell if the eggs were produced sexually or asexually.