We have done two articles on Anacondas so far and we are not done yet. This serpents have great degree of mysticism associated with them and hence, it makes sense to study about them in great details. So here we are, with yet another article on Anacondas. This article will particularly focus on Anaconda Reproduction facts. So, let’s begin…
Anaconda Reproduction Facts: 1-5 | Ovoviviparous, Mating Season, Scent Trail
1. Anacondas are reptiles. So, what do you expect? Yes, you will generally expect that they lay eggs. That however is not true.
2. Anacondas are ovoviviparous reptiles. This means that they, despite being reptiles, will give birth to live young snakes just like other mammals give birth to offspring. This makes them quite unusual. They will produce eggs but will not lay them. The eggs will hatch inside the female’s body.
3. As far as the mating is concerned, Anacondas usually mate during the spring time. This is the time when females will either emit airborne chemicals or scent trails to let the males know that they are ready for mating.
4. The males will pick up those scents or chemicals by flicking their forked tongue in air. Once they pick up the scent, they will follow the trail and reach the females.
5. Usually females will not move long distances. They will more or less stay put in a particular spot. The males will however travel long distances to find the females in heat.
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Anaconda Reproduction Facts: 6-10 | Breeding Ball, Mating Process
6. The mating of the Anacondas will usually take place in water or near water. They won’t wander off far from the water. A single female will attract multiple males who will wrestle for mating. Up to 12 male Anacondas can move in on a single female.
7. Usually the males will cling on or coil around a single female and keep wrestling. A giant swarm of snakes form in the waters during the mating season. This breeding ball can actually last for up to four weeks.
8. During the wrestling, the male Anacondas will make use of their spurs and press their cloacal parts on the female’s body. They usually do this to arouse the female.
9. The males make use of their spurs for continuously scratching the body of the female. Eventually when the female is aroused, she will raise her cloacal part. This is when the male who overpowers others will shove in a waxy plug inside her cloaca.
10. It is to be noted that the males do wrestle and fight for mating rights and the winner is the one who gets to fulfill his amorous desires but, even the female may decide who she wants to mate with.
Anaconda Reproduction Facts: 11-15 | Embryos, Gestation
11. Once the mating is over, the female will carry her embryos inside her body and will have a gestation period of 6 to 7 months. Usually it is 6 months. During this period, the pregnant Anaconda will not feed because hunting increases injury risks and babies can be harmed.
12. The embryos will remain attached to a yolk sack inside the female and a membrane will keep them surrounded.
13. The Anacondas are ovoviviparous. This means that the eggs will actually hatch inside the body of the mother Anaconda. The pregnant Anaconda will usually bask in Sun for raising her body temperature so that the embryonic growth process speeds up.
14. After 6 months of gestation and basking in Sun, the eggs will hatch inside the females body but the baby Anacondas will still remain wrapped in the membrane that originally kept the embryos surrounded.
15. When it is time for birth, the babies will be pushed out of the cloacal region by the female Anaconda with the babies still inside the membrane.
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Anaconda Reproduction Facts: 16-20 | Neonates Birth, Litter, Size
16. Once the baby Anacondas are out, they will break out of the membrane and move around. The newborns are very much capable of swimming and hunting and will go around doing so.
17. Because the newborns can swim and hunt on their own, the mother Anaconda will not take care of the babies.
18. The newborn Anaconda babies are actually referred as ‘neonates’.
19. The litter size of a typical female Anaconda is around 20 to 40 neonates but fewer babies can be born for smaller female Anacondas.
20. The neonates are around 2.2 feet to 2.6 feet long and they eventually reach their sexual maturity when they are around 4 years old. Before they reach their sexual maturity, the neonates are frequently preyed upon by predators because the parent snake doesn’t look after them.
Image Credit: Image Copyright: Sylvain Cordier | Wildlife Photographer