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Reproductive strategies….

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Posted by: Kelly_Haller at Mon Sep 3 14:02:20 2012  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by Kelly_Haller ]  
   

Danny,
That is about an average litter for a female of that size. Most neonate greens are born outside of the sack having broken free while still within the female. I believe this to be an inherent trait with all anaconda species so that if the young are dropped in water they are able to get to the surface more readily. That one could have easily been born dead, as this is seen occasionally. The largest litter I have produced was in the low 30’s but I don’t remember the exact number. I do remember that if you counted both neonates and infertile eggs, the count together was about 40, which is about the number of live young that you could potentially see from a 16 footer. With all of the births I have had here, the females always ate the infertile slugs. I believe that female greens ingest any slugs or dead neonates as a way to replenish energy reserves lost during the period of development of the young. Reproduction takes a heavy toll on the female and it would be a waste of valuable energy to not eat this material. This is especially true with green anacondas considering the environment in with these snakes live, as energy is at a premium in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins. Some female greens have even been known to kill and eat male greens after mating, but this has never been documented in captivity. Additionally, this probably only occurs when the females reserves are at an unusually low level and she needs to augment these reserves for the impending pregnancy. I believe this lack of occurrence in captivity is further evidence that it is an energy reserve issue. Female greens in captivity are typically well fed and the females realize there is a pretty consistent food source available, therefore they most likely do not have the inclination to feed on males even when they are available.

Kelly


   

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