Snakes That Give Live Birth [Exciting Facts & List of Breeds]

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It’s always fascinating to learn something new.


Well, to me, it is. I always thought snakes reproduce by laying eggs, which is correct, and it’s what most people know. More interestingly, there is another group of snakes that will give live birth.

Can you imagine that? A friend mentioned this to me, and I couldn’t believe it, so I had to find out for myself. Turns out he was right.

Today, after doing a lot of research,  I will share with you some exciting ideas about snakes and give you a list of snakes that will have a live birth and the idea behind it.

Let’s jump right to it.

So, what kind of snakes give live births?

Well, there are two ways these snakes can give live birth. Viviparous and ovoviviparous. Some of these snakes that give live birth include most of those viper species, the rattlesnakes, the boa constrictor, anacondas, and members of the Boidae family.

As we know, most snakes will reproduce by laying eggs. 70% of snakes will reproduce by laying. The rest 30% will give birth to live snakes. Stay tuned to learn how these snakes give birth if you are among the curious type like me.

Which Snakes Do Not Lay Eggs?

The most snake will lay eggs, but some snakes have live births then they retain the eggs inside their bodies. This group of snakes, as I mentioned earlier, is known as ovoviviparous. Other snakes have no eggs involved at all. They are known as viviparous snakes. They do not lay eggs, and they do not retain the eggs inside their bodies. An excellent example of these snakes is the green anacondas and the boa constrictors.

Snake Breeds That Give Live Birth

Many snakes give live birth starting from the boa species, the vipers, and the sea snakes. The boa species includes the constrictors such as anacondas. Most constrictors fall under this category of snakes that give live birth.

However, there is one exception.

Pythons. They are egg-laying snakes. This species will find the right place to lay eggs like on some nests, and they then cover them with leaves and soil at times and coil around the eggs for protection.

The viper snakes include the rattlesnakes, cerastes, and cottonmouths. These are just a few examples. There is a massive list of vipers. Think of any snake that has venom glands, fangs, triangular-shaped heads or diamond at times, and slanted eyes. These snakes are vipers, and they give birth to live young ones.

The sea snakes are also on the high side with thousands of snakes that give live birth. Just but to mention a few, we have the olive snake, stokes, horned sea snake, yellow-bellied, the stagger banded, the yellow-tipped snake, the spine, black-banded, and the viperine snake. These are just a few examples, but there are very many snakes that give live birth.

The next paragraph is just to give you an idea of:

How many baby snakes these snakes give birth to?

The rattlesnake gives birth to 10 baby snakes on average, the ball python [boa constrictor] will give birth to 6, the anaconda also a boa constrictor will have about 80 younglings. The horned sea snake has about ten, while the turtlehead sea snake will have about 5. The green anaconda will have between 12 to 30 baby snakes.

Ball Python

Why Do Some Snakes Give Live Birth?

So, as I have mentioned, snakes will give birth in three different ways. Some will lay eggs, and they are known as oviparous. These are the majority having more than 70% of the total snakes. The second group is known as viviparous. These snakes will give birth with no eggs included similar to a mammal’s delivery. Then we have the ovoviviparous. With these, there are eggs. Maybe we can look at this as a mix of viviparous and oviparous.

Now that we have an idea of how the three types of snakes give birth, why would some snakes choose live delivery while others go with laying eggs?

Mostly, the reason why some snakes will give live births is for survival reasons. It is a fact that not many eggs laid by snakes will hatch. It is because snakes will never build nests as other reptiles do. They will drop their eggs whichever place they feel has the right temperature and humidity for incubation until the eggs hatch.

Note that I said they could deposit the eggs anywhere. It can be in the shrubs, a pile of vegetation, a predator’s nest, and any other place you can think of as long as there are right conditions for incubation.

In reality, these eggs will take about two months to hatch, and who knows, maybe the predator will feed on the eggs, or the climate will change. The chances of the eggs surviving are minimal compared to ovoviviparity, where the snake will move around with the eggs inside her.

The mother incubates the embryo, and she will move to different places finding the right conditions for incubation. Laid eggs cannot move.

Do Snakes Look After Their Young?

Unlike mammals, snakes will never look after their young ones apart from one exception. The pit vipers are the only snakes known to stay with their young ones for a while. The other snakes limit their care to the eggs. Immediately the baby is born; he is ready to go out on his own. He can take care of himself and find food for himself.

Baby rattlesnakes that have just been born have venom and fangs just like a fully grown rattlesnake. They can inflict a deadly bite. Snakes that give live births will never look after their young ones. The only time the snakes will stay to watch over is when the eggs have not hatched yet. The eggs laying snakes may wait to watch over the eggs until they hatch to protect them. After hatching, the babies are on their own.


Are Snakes That Give Live Birth Mammals?

Viviparous or Ovoviviparous snakes cannot be mammals just because they give birth to living young ones. What distinguishes between a reptile and a mammal is whether they are cold-blooded or warm-blooded.

Do Black Snakes Lay Eggs Or Give Live Birth?

The laying of eggs depends on the climate. Some snakes, whether black or white, live in cold places that are not favorable for egg hatching. These snakes will, therefore, give live birth to maximize the chance of the young ones surviving.

Do Copperheads Give Live Birth?

Copperheads are ovoviviparous snakes, which means that they will give birth to live young ones. The embryo stays inside her mother until the time comes. The copperheads will give birth to about 18 younglings.

Do Snakes Give Birth Through Their Mouth?

Snakes do not give birth through the mouth. They have a cloaca. It is where all the waste in the body drives out from. The babies will come out through the cloaca.

Well, there you have it. Three different ways that snakes give birth. It is interesting to learn about the various snakes and how they give birth. Stay tuned for more exciting things to learn.

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