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Not All Snakes Lay Eggs

November 26, 2019

Not All Snakes Lay Eggs

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Jeffrey Gross Jeffrey Gross

Did you know that not all snakes lay eggs? The Wildlife Conservation Society Prospect Park Zoo’s female emerald tree boa, Esmerelda, recently gave birth to 13 healthy babies (above, a youngster that will turn green as it ages). Emerald tree boas, Corallus caninus, are an ovoviviparous species of snake, meaning the embryos develop in egg-like sacks internally, and are born live.

During the day when we are caring for our emerald tree boas, they usually aren’t doing much more than “hanging around”.  This is because they are a nocturnal species of snake, preferring to rest during the day, and hunt at night. To help them hunt, emerald tree boas have deep pits around their mouth. These pits can sense the heat that their prey gives off, allowing them to hone in on the exact location of their prey in the dark. Emerald tree boas have the largest teeth of any non-venomous snake of their size in the world. Even though they don’t move around too much during the day, we are always aware that being bit by those big teeth could hurt.

Although mom Esmerelda is off exhibit with her babies, dad Rocky can be viewed showing off his brilliant emerald green adult color up in the branches in the mata mata turtle exhibit, located in the Hall of Animals at Prospect Park Zoo.

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