Cornsnake laying eggs without mating

Asked June 5, 2017, 2:18 PM EDT

Hello, My cornsnake laid eggs a few days ago and she was never mated. I removed the eggs from her cage (all of which look infertile). Since laying the eggs she has not moved and is acting aggressive when I attempt to feed her. She had not eaten in about a month so I know she is hungry. How long after laying eggs can I expect her to eat?

Yolo County California

2 Responses

Thank you for your question. I'm sending your question to an individual who specializes in breeding corn snakes. I will be back in touch as soon as I hear back from them.

Jim

Hello again. I heard back from my contact, and she said your snake should have a postlaying shed approximately 10 – 14 days from the date she laid her eggs. Once she has shed, she should be interested in food again. You might consider feeding her small er mice at first. If she takes those, then you can work your way back up to full size mice with subsequent feedings.

She also said you should always be concerned about retained eggs, especially following an infertile clutch. She provided the following method for checking:

“To check, place a light weight cloth (such as a handkerchief) over one hand, while holding the snake. Let it SLOWLY crawl back into the cage while gliding over the hand with the cloth on it. As it moves, gently probe your forefinger into the rear half of the snake’s belly. It is important that the snake is relaxed, not tense. If there are retained eggs, you should be able to feel the bumps. Do it more than once, with the snake relaxed and moving slowly, if you are not sure of the results.”

She provides methods for removing retained eggs in her book:

Love, Kathy and Love, Bill. (2005). Corn Snakes – The Comprehensive Owner’s Guide. Irvine: Advanced Vivarium Systems.

however, if you’re not familiar with advance techniques working with snakes, I recommend that if you suspect your snake may have retained eggs then consult with a reptile veterinarian. If you don’t already have a vet, there are several sites online where you can search for reptile vets by city or county. If there is a state or local herpetology club near you, they often know who the best vets are in your area.

Hope this information helps, and thank you for using Ask an Expert.

Jim