A 62-year-old ball python laid seven eggs in Missouri's St Louis Zoo despite not having been near a male python for at least two decades. Experts at the St Louis Zoo are trying to find out how this happened.
Mark Wanner, herpetology manager at the zoo, said that the asexual reproduction of ball pythons was rare but not unprecedented. Sometimes the snakes store sperms for delayed fertilisation too.
Warner asserted that, "The birth is also rare because ball pythons normally stop laying eggs long before they reach their 60s."
Speaking to a news agency, Warner quoted, "She will probably be the oldest snake in the history to lay eggs."
The St. Louis Zoo explained in a Facebook post shared this week, that ball pythons, native to central and west Africa, are known to reproduce sexually and asexually, which is called facultative parthenogenesis.
The zoo wrote as, "Snakes are also known to store sperm for delayed fertilization. Now the question is, which of the two explanations is the reason for the eggs? Without genetic testing, Zoo staff won't know if this ball python reproduced sexually or asexually."
On July 23 the python laid the eggs. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that three of the eggs remain in an incubator, two were used for genetic sampling and the other two eggs did not survive. The surviving eggs should hatch in about a month.
The only other ball python in the herpetarium of the zoo is a male, around 31 years old.
(Video Source: FB)