What Do You Call a Snake’s Young?

Snake babies are called snakelets. When a snake hatches from an egg, it is also called a hatchling. When a snake gives birth to live babies, the babies are called neonates. There are more than 3,000 different kinds of snakes in the world. All continents except Antarctica have snakes.

Snake Eggs

About 70% of snake species lay eggs with shells, which means they are oviparous. Snake eggs are leathery instead of hard, and they are usually kept in a place that is dark, warm, and damp. Many snake species leave their eggs right away, but others protect them from predators and let their body heat help them hatch.

Some snakes that lay eggs are the kingsnake, the rat snake, the grass snake, the mamba, the adder, and the cobra. The king cobra is different from other snakes because it makes a nest for its eggs and may stay to watch over them even after they hatch. Many types of boas also take care of their eggs until they hatch.

Snake is Born

Other snakes give birth to live young, which is called vivipary. This is a very unusual way for reptiles to give birth. When these snakes are born, they have a placenta, which is a soft membrane, and a yolk sack to help them grow up. The good thing about this method is that the snakes can stay inside their mother’s body until they can handle the cold on their own.

Snakes like the boa constrictors and green anacondas give birth to live young.

One more type of snake

Some snakes are a mix of those that lay eggs and those that lay live young. Even though they have eggs, the shells don’t harden and the mother doesn’t lay them anywhere. Instead, she keeps the eggs inside of her until they hatch, at which point the young leave her body. These snakes give birth to live young.

The rattlesnake is a common type of this kind of snake. Like snakes that give birth to live young, those that hatch from eggs tend to leave their young right away. This is why rattlesnakes are poisonous from the start, even when they are still babies.

Venomous Snakelets

You may have heard that young venomous snakes are more dangerous than adults, either because they can’t control how much venom they inject or because their venom is stronger. This isn’t true, thank goodness. Because snakelets are so much smaller than adult snakes, their venom sacs hold much less poison. Even if a baby snake let out all of its poison at once, it would still be much less than an adult would use. Studies show that bigger snakes bite worse because they have more poison in their bites. There’s also no proof that adult snakes are more likely than snakelets to choose not to inject venom when they bite.

Snake Growth

Once they leave their shell or their mother’s body, snakes quickly learn how to live in the world. Snakes with poison are born ready to use it, and rattlesnakes already have the first button on their rattles when they are born. They start hunting for their own food right away, and most species can have their own babies two years after they are born.

Larger species may take up to four or five years to reach sexual maturity. Once they reach that age, snakes tend to grow slower, and they continue to grow at a slower rate for the rest of their lives.


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