My corn snake laid eggs without a mate

Hi! I’ve been looking for a snake to breed with mine and just never had the time or money to go forward with it. Much to surprise, as you can see by the title, my corn snake has given birth without a mate. I was wondering what the chances of this happening are and the chances of them hatching? I don’t have an incubator or anything as this was so unexpected so i’ve made an egg box and am currently incubating it inside my snakes vivarium. I was also wondering if there’s anything I need to know about this process as this is my first time with a clutch of eggs?


Corn snakes or most snakes in general can lay eggs without any contact with a male this is done through a process called parthenogenesis and will be complete clones of the mother. The eggs can be incubated at room temp aslkng as humidity is stable and can take around 2 months to hatch. I would recommend shining a light through the eggs and if you see an ebryo and veins they should be anle to hatch. If you could send some pictures that would help thanks! I would also ask @caryl and @solarserpents as they know alot


It’s not entirely uncommon for female corn snakes to lay without a male, but they’re usually infertile slugs. Were the eggs white and leathery, or more of a yellow color and squishy?


Parthenogenesis in corns is exceedingly rare. If you’re sure the snake has never been around a male, it’s highly likely the eggs are infertile. If you want to try incubating them anyway, you can set up a simple incubation chamber with a lidded container, some moist vermiculite or perlite, and a warm-ish area (room temp will work). Then just half bury the eggs in the moistened medium and leave them be. You can check in about a week to see if they’ve developed veins by placing a pen light against them in the dark. Veins indicate that they’re fertile.


I’m sure that was a shock! If your female has truly never been with a male, these eggs are likely infertile but there no harm in incubating them to be certain. In extremely rare cases, such eggs have actually hatched. It is possible for females to store sperm for a year, or even longer. How long have you had her? How sure are you that she was never with a male?


This is not correct. The babies are half-clones of the mother
Partho clutches, while not common, are not unheard of in colubrids (Warren Booth has done lots of work on this stuff). The first question though, is whether this animal has ever seen a male before (because sperm retention is a real thing) followed very closely by, did you candle the eggs to see if they are fertile (because it is also not entirely uncommon for a female to cycle and lay duds if she was not bred)

Once you eliminate both of those, then the argument of parthenogenesis becomes more likely. Partho clutches tend to have higher rates of eggs failing to make it to term and the resulting babies are not always the healthiest. There are lots of places here on the boards that discuss this in detail that should turn up easy if you do a quick search :grin: :+1:t4:


Ah ok i guess im learning too lol. @tyler004 this is also a great place for learning ive learned a lot from the wonderful community on here!


This is probably a VERY stupid question, but…what is the other half then?


Not stupid, though you are misunderstanding the definition of “half” here

Easiest to explain with a quick biology recap

In gamete formation, cells undergo meiosis to make sex cells (four sperm/original cell or one egg/original cell)

Since we only care about the female gamete, I am going to outline that process (just know that it is different in males)

  • The starter cell has its chromosomal payload: AABBCCDD
  • First step, the cell doubles the payload: AAAABBBBCCCCDDDD
  • Next, the cell divides in two: AABBCCDD… and AABBCCDD…
  • The division is not equal however, so only one viable cell remains. The second, with its genetic payload, basically shrivels up and dies
  • Then, the remaining cell again divides: ABCD… ABCD…
  • Again, this division is not equal so only one viable cell remains. The second, with its genetic payload, stays stuck to the remaining cell as what is known as a ‘polar body’

Parthenogenesis in snakes happens through a process known as terminal fusion automixis. Basically, what this means is that the egg with the ABCD… payload recombines with the ABCD… polar body to create an embryo that has a full genetic compliment - AABBCCDD…

What you should notice there is that the ABCD… that were originally present in the mother are no longer there.


Meaning that the offspring only carry half of the genetics of the mother, thus a half-clone

Make sense?


Much more sense, thank you!