Python maternal care

Discussion in 'Australian Snakes' started by zulu, Sep 26, 2005.

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  1. zulu

    zulu Very Well-Known Member

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    I noticed on reps downunder reference to maternal care after hatching by the african rock python,this species is not totally alone diamond pythgons give some maternal protection also.In some wild clutches that i had under surveilance the eggs will already be hatched but the python remains coiled around them and if found sunning she slivers back to protect them.On one occasion a female went back and coiled up although all eggs had hatched and onley one individual was left not fully emerged with just the head protruding,maybe it is full on protection but it is still maternal care of sorts up until i wittnessed this behaviour in the wild i thought the female left the eggs and remained nearby but they are much more thorough in the hatching process and AFTER hatching than i or others previously thought. :D
     
  2. serpenttongue

    serpenttongue Very Well-Known Member

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    Every python species shows maternal care by coiling around the eggs, but not all are known to show shivering thermogenesis. On several occasions i have allowed my diamonds to use maternal incubation with success.

    Yes, if one of my females catches me checking the eggs while she basks, she will immediately return to the eggs and coil back around them.

    They also do stay on the eggs as the babies hatch, when the babies leave and also for several days after, if allowed. If the clutch is removed from the female as they hatch she will remain in her egg box and continue shivering because the scent of the clutch remains. If i place the clutch of empty eggs back with her, she'll coil back around them and shiver. I guess they have to stay on the eggs longer than necessary just to make sure all babies have emerged.

    Zulu, you're extremely lucky to have witnessed this in wild animals.
     
  3. zulu

    zulu Very Well-Known Member

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    re Python

    Yeh it is interesting serpentongue that they stay in the wild at least until every hatching has left the nest down to the last individual,apparently they sense fertility and time of hatching etc etc most was down your way in 80s and 90s cause ime an oldfella.Good to see your observant serpentongue you give some good advice at times to some of the newys and thats admirable. cheers colin.
     
  4. serpenttongue

    serpenttongue Very Well-Known Member

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    re Python

    I have also observed females to study the babies by tongue-flicking the heads of each hatchling as they first break out of the egg.

    The eggboxes i used were quite large, with grass cuttings/hay as bedding. When the hatchlings finally emerged they would usually just coil up under the bedding within the box or under the females coils(sometimes between her coils). It could be several days before they bothered finding the entry hole in the eggbox to leave. This makes me wonder exactly how far from the nest the babies would travel after hatching in the wild. They may stay within several feet of the nest for a few days to as long as a week.

    Check this pic. Look closely to the left and you can see 2 babies emerging from the coils.
     
  5. serpenttongue

    serpenttongue Very Well-Known Member

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    Oh, and theres also a 3rd baby at the top where her coils have parted :D
     
  6. hugsta

    hugsta Almost Legendary

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    Great pic ST. What sort of hatch rates did you get with maternal incubating?
     
  7. danw

    danw Well-Known Member

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    thats so cool..I love the pic
     
  8. serpenttongue

    serpenttongue Very Well-Known Member

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    Hugsta, with that clutch every hatchling survived, but there was 2 infertile eggs. 26 eggs all up, with 24 healthy babies hatching. This was back in '95, i think. The only problem i've had with maternal incubation is that the egg shells become tough ( much more than when incubated artificially) and the babies have difficulty cutting out of them, so egg shells need to be slit by myself in some cases.
     
  9. zulu

    zulu Very Well-Known Member

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    re Python

    :D Great picture serpentongue!Yeh they do similar to the wild as in captivity one female i had hatched out 29 eggs in a elevated small bird nest box.I looked in one night and they were all emerging at the one time,i think the python had moved to the bottom of the cage from memory.In the wild ive found that most hatclings disperse but some dont and can remain closer to the original nest site up until the first slough.Most people wil have noticed that the neonates until the first slough sun themselves quite a bit in the day and at night are extremely active in the dispersal period which is up until that first slough,after this time the juveniles habits in the wild change.The change in behavior is brought about by the advent of behaviour associated with its feeding patterns,and in at least many of those areas that they occur the juveniles feed on small skinks initially as many areas do not have coppertails and lesuers geckos present.Most densities of juveniles are found in lantana and grassy areas and they catch there prey by ambush looking intently at the ground. Cheers colin.
     
  10. hugsta

    hugsta Almost Legendary

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    I have heard they can have pretty bad hatch rates and that is probably why. Thanks for the info.
     
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