If You’re a Southern African Python, Being a ‘Good’ Mum Could Get You Killed

Animals do the most amazing things. Read about them in this series by Janaki Lenin.

Southern African pythons (Python natalensis) set a new record for serpentine motherhood, taking care of their young at great cost to their health.

Most mother snakes take their jobs lightly. They find a safe refuge, lay their eggs and leave. If they are live-bearers, they vanish as soon as the last little one pops out. These newborns face the dangers of the big bad world on their own. Of the approximately 3,400 species of snakes, not even 3% show some form of maternal care.

King cobras go the extra distance, making a nest and guarding their eggs until they hatch. Mothers belonging to some species like the Indian rock python coil the full length of their muscular bodies around their mass of eggs. Throughout…

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