Animal Diaries Archive
What egg-zactly is this?
29 December 2006
Most people when they think of eggs think of a singular, whitish, oval-shaped object that you find in a carton in your local supermarket, which at some point came from the bottom end of a chook. For reptile keepers, eggs - especially those from reptiles - are the means of our existence. There is nothing better than watching a baby snake or lizard emerge from its egg for the first time. Reptile eggs, however, are not purchased from a shop; a great deal of preparation and care is dedicated to ensuring their success in hatching and their future survival.
Over the past few weeks we have had several amazed patrons enquire as to what animal the large cluster of eggs they have found in their wood pile may belong to.
At first sight the cluster (see photo) may resemble a half-deflated soccer ball, but it is actually a clutch of Carpet Python eggs. Female pythons lay their eggs and then coil around them to act as an incubator; this ensures a more constant temperature for the developing eggs. It may sound like a great idea, but this sort of dedication comes at a cost. You see, the female doesn’t leave the clutch to feed or drink for the duration of the incubation (2-3 months) unless disturbed, losing a lot of body condition in the process.
So what’s the alternative? Most other reptiles will lay their eggs in a small chamber and then leave; this allows the female to be able to feed straight away but also leaves the eggs victim to the environment.
Which method do you think is better?