Virgin’ Boa Constrictor Gives Birth to 14 Babies at UK School After Rare Parthenogenesis

Virgin' Boa Constrictor Gives Birth to 14 Babies at UK School After Rare Parthenogenesis
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In a remark­able bio­log­i­cal event, a “vir­gin” boa con­stric­tor named Ronal­do has giv­en birth to 14 baby snakes at a school in Portsmouth, UK. The snake, which was thought to be male, unex­pect­ed­ly pro­duced off­spring with­out the involve­ment of a male partner.

This rare phe­nom­e­non, known as partheno­gen­e­sis, is a form of asex­u­al repro­duc­tion where the female is able to fer­til­ize her own eggs, pro­duc­ing genet­i­cal­ly iden­ti­cal off­spring. While partheno­gen­e­sis is known to occur in some species, it is an excep­tion­al­ly uncom­mon occur­rence in cap­tive boa constrictors.

The snake’s keep­ers at the City of Portsmouth Col­lege were astound­ed to dis­cov­er the new­born snakes in Ronal­do’s enclo­sure, hav­ing nev­er wit­nessed such a process in their 50 years of snake-keep­ing experience.

“Ronal­do had been look­ing slight­ly fat­ter than usu­al, like he’d eat­en a big meal, but we nev­er thought for a moment that he, or should we say she, was preg­nant,” said Pete Quin­lan, an ani­mal care tech­ni­cian at the college.

The result­ing off­spring are essen­tial­ly genet­ic clones of their moth­er, though they may still exhib­it slight vari­a­tions in their phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics. This remark­able case of partheno­gen­e­sis in a cap­tive boa con­stric­tor pro­vides valu­able insights into the repro­duc­tive capa­bil­i­ties of this species and the sci­en­tif­ic process­es behind asex­u­al reproduction.

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