Life History and Reproduction

Python with eggsReticulated pythons reproduce via sexual reproduction. Both a female and male individual are needed in order to undergo successful reproduction. Like most snakes, reticulated pythons rely on smell in order to detect potential mates. If a male has sensed that a female is ready to reproduce, he will often brush against her which can stimulate and increase her ability to copulate. The female lifts her tail when she is ready to mate. A male then places his tail under hers so that his reproductive structure (called a hemipenis) can inject sperm into her cloaca. (an opening leading to her oviduct and eggs). 

Reticulated pythons lay eggs. The females usually lay their eggs during the months of April through October. The number of eggs in the clutch varies but is usually around 15- 20 eggs. (There have been instances of some females producing more than 100 eggs!). The female then wraps her body around the eggs to moderate the temperature. This is called 'brooding' and occurs in a variety of snake species. The eggs usually hatch in around eight to eleven weeks, and the young  are around 70 centimeters in length. Python reticulatus can continue to grow to lengths greater than 30 feet, and live to an average age of 30 years.

This page is Copyright 2008 by Timothy N. Young

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