A snake kept alone in captivity has given birth in southeast Missouri. There are no other known reports of the same breed accomplishing the same task.

The Missouri Department of Conservation says a female yellow-bellied water snake reproduced on her own without the help of a male companion.


female yellow-bellied water snake

Missouri Conservation Department herpetologist Jeff Briggler said virgin births are a process called parthenogenesis. The conservation department said there are no other documented cases of parthenogenesis by a yellow-bellied water snake. Like other water snakes, this species gives birth to live young rather than eggs that hatch. h/t dailymail

Parthenogenesis is a type of asexual reproduction in which offspring develop from unfertilized eggs, meaning there is no genetic contribution by a male. It’s caused when cells known as polar bodies, which are produced with an animal’s egg and usually die, behave like sperm and fuse with the egg, triggering cell division.