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What Do Snake Eggs Look Like? (with Pictures)
Knowing how to identify snake eggs offers numerous benefits. If you’re a snake lover, knowing what snake eggs look like will curb your curiosity and add to your knowledge base.
If you’re not fond of snakes but live somewhere that’s home to venomous snakes, it’s important to know what the eggs look like so you can avoid the area. If you own property, knowing what snake eggs look like can help keep unwanted intruders at bay.
Snake Eggs Don’t Look Like Chicken Eggs
Some people believe that snake eggs look a lot like chicken eggs. The truth is, however, that snake eggs don’t resemble chicken eggs at all. Chickens and other birds lay roundish-shaped eggs with hard shells. The hard protective shell of a bird egg accommodates the weight of the mother bird when she sits on them to keep them warm.
Snake eggs are oblong-shaped and have rubbery shells that are pliable. They don’t have hard shells like bird eggs because snakes are cold-blooded reptiles that don’t need to incubate their eggs.
Where You’ll Find Snake Eggs
Many species of snakes bury their eggs in dirt, compost, or loose and moist ground. Some snakes lay their eggs inside dying trees, under bushes, in compost or manure, and in other warm and moist places.
Mother snakes bury their eggs so nature serves as an incubator. Most female snakes lay their eggs then abandon them completely, except for cobras or pythons, which are not snakes found in North America.
If you’re wondering how many eggs a mother snake lays, that number can vary considerably. Some species may only lay a couple of eggs while others lay dozens at a time.
What to Do If You Find Snake Eggs
If you stumble across snake eggs in the wild, it’s best to leave them be. If the eggs are from a species you don’t want around, contact a local wildlife center or a snake expert to help you remove the eggs.
It can be risky to remove snake eggs because you never know if adult snakes are nearby. The last thing you want to happen is to be bitten by a venomous snake. Be on your guard whenever you stumble upon what you believe to be snake eggs!
Snake Eggs Aren’t Easy to Identify by Species
The tricky thing about snake eggs is that they’re notoriously difficult to identify according to species. Knowing the species of a snake egg is almost impossible unless you’re an educated snake professional.
The texture and hardness of the shell is one of the easiest ways to differentiate between a snake egg and a bird egg. As mentioned above, birds lay hard-shelled eggs while snake eggs are softer and much more supple.
As far as color goes most snakes in North America lay eggs that are white, off-white, or beige. Snake eggs are not as large as chicken eggs and can range in size according to species.
A surprising fact about snake eggs is that they increase in size as they’re being incubated. The egg encasing the growing embryo absorbs water, resulting in the egg getting larger until the hatchling inside emerges through the shell.
Generally speaking, snake eggs tend to be just over one inch long while other reptiles like lizards lay smaller eggs. It’s a safe bet to assume you have snake eggs if the eggs are light-colored, rubbery, and around one inch in length.
Snakes Reproduce in Different Ways
It’s important to know that not all snakes lay eggs. Many species give live birth to their young. You may be surprised to learn that there are three distinct methods of snake reproduction, which we’ll cover below.
Identifying Snake Eggs
There are over 50 species of snakes living in the United States, which means there are lots of snake eggs in the wild. Of those 50 species, approximately 20 are venomous snakes which means they produce venom and deliver it via injection using their fangs.
Thousands of people in the United States are bitten by venomous snakes every year. You can get very sick from a venomous snakebite and even die if you don’t receive anti-venom quickly. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for venomous snakes so you can stay away from these potentially deadly reptiles.
Venomous Snake Eggs are Uncommon in the US
Unless you live in the southeastern or southwestern portion of the United States, you’ll likely never run across snakes’ eggs coming from a venomous species. Why is this? Because only one egg-laying venomous snake lives in the United States and it’s a beautiful & elusive creature called the Coral snake.
There are two types of Coral Snakes: Old World Coral snakes found in Asia and New World Coral snakes found in the Americas. In the United States, there are Eastern Coral snakes and Western Coral snakes.
Eastern Coral snakes live in the southeastern part of the country in an area ranging from the Carolinas to Florida and Texas. This snake’s body is entirely covered in bright bands of black, red, and yellow.
Western Coral snakes live in the southwestern part of the country and have the same basic color pattern as their Eastern counterparts only the colors are more muted. In particular, the yellow bands are paler and can be white.
Coral Snake Eggs
Eastern Coral Snakes lay six or seven eggs while Western Coral Snakes lay two to three eggs. Both snakes lay their eggs during the summer months and they hatch in the fall. So, what do these eggs look like?
Coral Snake eggs are white, oblong, soft, pliable, and about one inch long. If you live in an area known for having Coral Snakes and you come across eggs fitting this description, they are likely Coral Snake eggs.
If you are dead-set on learning how to identify specific species of snake eggs, you should educate yourself. You can sign up for a college course, join a workshop run by a wildlife organization, or work closely with a snake expert.
Snakes are fascinating creatures that vary considerably in size and color. But their eggs aren’t colorful nor easy to identify as most snake eggs look very much alike.
Remember to leave snake eggs be if you run across them in the wild. Snakes are an important part of our ecosystem. Snakes help control the pest population by eating mice and other small rodents that damage crops and carry disease.
Featured Image Credit: Holm94, Shutterstock
Oliver (Ollie) Jones – A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master’s degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.