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Snakes will usually mate in spring, right after hibernation ends in colder climates.  In the tropics mating can happen any time of the year.  Male snakes will try to attract a female by doing a type of ‘play fighting’ with other males who want her attention.  They do not try to kill each other…just win the fight! 

Some snakes, such as boas, rattlesnakes and garter snakes, give birth to live young.  That means that the baby snakes develop inside their mother.  When they are born they are covered with a thin membrane, kind of like a goopy baggie.  The baby uses an egg tooth to rip out of the membrane and wriggle free.

Other snakes lay eggs in a safe, warm place like in a hollow log or buried in the ground.  Snake eggs are not hard like chicken eggs; they are kind of leathery and can be torn by the baby snakes with their egg tooth.  The Racer and Coral snake will lay their eggs and then leaves and won’t return.  When the babies hatch, a few weeks later, they will be on their own to hunt for food. King Cobras and some Pythons will stay with their eggs, keeping them warm and safe until they hatch.  This is called “brooding”.  After hatching the snake babies are on their own.

All snakes will lose their egg tooth shortly after hatching.

Snakes will reproduce, or give birth, once a year to every 3 years. 

Photo Source:  National Geographic Photo Gallery
Photographer:  Bruce Dale

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