You came across a nest of soft eggs in your yard. The eggs were partially buried in a dirt nest, and the adult animal that laid them is nowhere to be found. You’ve seen bull snakes in your yard and you wonder if they are responsible for the nest of eggs. But, what do bull snake eggs look like? And how can you tell them apart from other snake eggs? Keep reading! In this article, we’ll answer these questions and more.
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What Do Bull Snake Eggs Look Like?
Snake eggs in general are relatively easy to identify and tell apart from bird eggs. According to Science Trends, this is true of most snake eggs, as they are generally much softer than bird eggs, and have a more leathery feel.
But differentiating the eggs of a specific snake species from all other snake eggs can be a bit more difficult. How can you tell bull snake eggs apart from other snake eggs?
Bull snake eggs do look similar to other snake eggs, but they tend to be a little longer and more elliptical. In fact, they look very much like oversized oblong medication tablets or large Tic-Tacs.
Bull snakes typically lay their eggs in late summer through early fall.
Bull snake eggs, like other snake eggs, are white in color, and they can be anywhere from 2 to 4 ½ inches long. The shells will be both rough and sticky to the touch, and again, they will feel somewhat soft–they won’t have the hard shells of chicken eggs but will feel more like leather.
Bull snakes typically lay their eggs in shallow dirt or sand nests, partially covering them with dirt and leaving them to self-incubate. The eggs may appear dirty because bits of dirt and debris will cling to the sticky shells.
Bull snakes tend to lay their eggs in groups or clusters.
What Do Bull Snake Eggs Look Like After Hatching?
After hatching, bull snake eggs will look dirtier than they did before and will probably appear somewhat shapeless. They will contain slits of various sizes and a large hole where the baby snake emerged.
The shells will most likely appear stickier than usual, as they will be covered with fluids from the insides of the eggs. They will not hold their form as well as they did before hatching–they will appear more like tiny, limp leather bags.
Empty bull snake eggs may be eaten by other snakes, possums, raccoons, etc, or they may be left undisturbed. Over time, any undisturbed eggs will break down and add nutrition to the soil.
Check out this video to see the entire process, from bull snakes mating to laying eggs to the eggs hatching.
How Long Until Bull Snake Eggs Hatch?
The normal incubation period for bull snake eggs is roughly 64 days, but this is only the average. Baby bull snakes may emerge from their eggs at only 45 days, or they may take up to 84 days.
The length of the incubation period can depend on environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, and how deeply they were buried in dirt. The eggs will most likely hatch sooner in warmer environments, while unseasonably cold weather may prevent them from hatching at all.
Once the first egg begins to hatch, the rest usually begin within 24 to 48 hours. From pipping to fully emerging, it usually takes a bull snake baby 24 hours or less to hatch.
How Many Eggs Does a Bull Snake Lay?
Bull snakes don’t necessarily lay a set number of eggs. The first time laying, they may only lay a few eggs, but the number will generally increase with each year.
Bull snakes typically lay anywhere between 3 and 24 eggs. The average number is 12, but they may lay up to 30 at a time.
In addition to the mother snake’s age, the number of eggs may also depend on environmental conditions, especially how much food was available before and during the breeding season. If food is plentiful, the mother generally produces more eggs; but if food is scarce, she generally produces fewer eggs.
Bull snake eggs appear rather similar to other snake eggs in that they are white, oblong, and leathery. That said, they are generally larger than most snake eggs, reaching up to 4 ½ inches long, and their shape is most similar to a large Tic-Tac.
Bull snakes can lay anywhere between 3 and 30 eggs each year, which they leave to self-incubate in sand or dirt nests. The incubation period can be anywhere from 45 to 84 days, but it averages around 64 days.