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Topic Reading-Vol.3079-9/15/2020

Dear MEL Topic Readers,

A ball python laid 7 eggs at the Saint Louis Zoo, even though she hasn't been around a male in years. With a maximum length of 1.8 meter, the ball python is the smallest of the African pythons. It tends to curl into a ball when stressed or frightened. While young pythons and males mainly eat small birds, larger ones and females prey on small mammals. Mature females lay three to 11 eggs, incubate them underground, and leave them when they hatch. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to find seven eggs were laid by a female ball python #361003 at the Saint Louis Zoo in Missouri, USA. However, the python is over 60 years old and had had no contact with a male for at least 15 years, possibly nearly 30 years! In fact, ball pythons are known to delay fertilization by males or reproduce by themselves. So, zookeepers are now trying to find if those eggs were indeed asexually produced or not. They are also waiting to see and hear the eggs hatching soon with their fingers crossed.

Enjoy reading the article and learn about this surprisingly late reproduction by an old python.

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