If you’re wondering if garter snakes lay eggs or give birth to live young, then you’re in the right place. This post will answer the question of “do garter snakes lay eggs?” as well as dive deeper into the topic of garter snake eggs and giving birth.
In short: No, a garter snake doesn’t lay eggs and gives birth to live young. However, there’s a lot more to it than that…
Garter snake eggs
You’re not going to run into garter snake eggs anywhere, nor are you going to find any if you own a garter snake as a pet. Even though garter snakes don’t lay eggs, they do produce eggs.
I know… Sounds confusing. But it’s quite simple really!
Garter snakes incubate their fertilized eggs inside their bodies and don’t give birth until the eggs have hatched. The term used to describe this behavior is called ovoviviparous, and it simply means that they carry their eggs internally.
Doing this prevents the eggs from being exposed to predators as well as keeps them in a reasonably consistent temperature. It works a treat, as garter snakes can give birth to as many as 85 young if they get lucky!
However, this is not the same process as it is with mammals. In mammals, young are reared inside the female, but with snakes, the eggs are incubated. It’s a subtle difference but an important one.
Once garter snake eggs “hatch” they are birthed as live young. The moment baby garter snakes are birthed, they are left to fend for themselves. Garter snakes don’t care for and raise their young as mammals do.
Garter snake reproduction facts
When it comes to garter snake eggs and reproduction, there are a lot of interesting facts that come along with it!
First, did you know that when garter snakes come out of brumation, they start actively looking for a partner? This can result in huge “mating balls” being formed where multiple males surround a female. This is quite the spectacle for onlookers!
Another interesting fact about garter snakes is that a female garter snake can hold on to a male’s sperm for years. This gives them the possibility to start the internal egg raising at any time they feel like it in the coming years!
The most garter snakes that have ever been recorded being born in one sitting is almost 100 (98 to be exact!) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garter_snake#Reproduction
In this article, we’ve answered the question of “do garter snakes lay eggs” as well as dove deeper into the subject of garter snake eggs and birth giving. As you can see, there’s a lot more that goes into this topic than just a simple yes or no answer.
Even though garter snakes don’t lay eggs, they do incubate their eggs inside their body until they hatch. Once hatched, garter snake babies are birthed as live young.
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