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  1. #1
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    Viable-looking snake dying in egg

    Hi all,
    Ive just had a clutch of 6 eggs from my BPs and 5 of the eggs pipped and hatched no problems within a couple days of eachother. However 1 of the last eggs did not pop at all, and itís now been a week after the others came out so I decided to cut the egg. The snake inside appears fully developed but there is no movement. Iím so confused on what happened and why. If I did anything wrong even though the other 5 babies are perfectly healthy. Can snakes sometimes just die before hatching, even if they are developed? Must it have been human error?
    Thanks guys

  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: Viable-looking snake dying in egg

    Quote Originally Posted by amyravioli View Post
    Can snakes sometimes just die before hatching, even if they are developed? Must it have been human error?
    Thanks guys
    Yes, ball pythons eggs die frequently just before hatching. This can be a result of an entire laundry list of potential issues--Human error being on one of the lower probabilities (in this case).

    Occam's Razor would suggest that the developing embryo ran out of nutrients. It happens: nothing you can do about that...
    Last edited by Lord Sorril; 09-14-2023 at 02:42 PM.
    *.* TNTC

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  4. #3
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    Yeah it happens. Sometimes you can loose a perfectly healthy looking hatchling. Heck, even human babies can pass suddenly with SIDS.
    Congenital issues can happen that we aren't aware of because they can look normal on the outside.
    One of my theories on issues with scaleless ball pythons is they may not produce the proper egg tooth needed to pip on their own. But I don't actually know if that is the issue or not. I've just heard of a higher incident of them not hatching in the past.

    I had a hatchling I purchased pass a month after purchase. Was eating and everything. Necropsy was inconclusive. Vitals were all clear. Just a weird fluke.

    My 3rd clutch had a baby with hard belly. He passed 2 days after passing the mass. He looked completely normal otherwise.

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  6. #4
    BPnet Veteran Alicia's Avatar
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    Lots of things can go wrong at the time of hatching. Sometimes something is wrong with the baby, but sometimes things just get messed up.

    If the baby loses its egg tooth when it goes to try to hatch, it's not making it out. Something happens to the blood vessels of the eggs before the baby has an opening for air*, it's done for. Although it's rare in clutches that are not messed with, it is possible for a baby to get tangled in its umbilical cord and yolk. Egg didn't deflate? Good chance the baby's in trouble. Bacteria breached the shell somehow? Yep. Dead baby.

    Cutting straggler eggs after most of the clutch has pipped can help. I don't usually cut eggs anymore, but now and then I'll cut a small slice in the top of eggies that are running late. It still requires patience, but maybe something to try next time?

    *There's disagreement about the presence of an air bubble in python eggs, like there is in birds. Some say it's there, others say it's not. The Barkers say specifically that it's not, and describe the process by which the hatching python actually creates an air pocket in the top of the egg as part of the hatching sequence. After never having observed an air pocket while candling a BP egg, but seeing them in poultry eggs, I'm inclined to side with the no-bubble camp.

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  8. #5
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    Sorry for your loss, amyravioli. It's sad when the little one looks as though it was healthy & normal, but "failure to thrive" (before or after hatching) happens occasionally. A necropsy may or may not reveal what went wrong. Life is precious- success requires getting everything right at the right time- & it's not likely anything you did or didn't do. Be proud of the 5 out of 6 that made it.

    Here's an example: a member here experienced a recent loss (failure to thrive) after acquiring what appeared to be a perfectly healthy hatchling- it just happens sometimes.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 09-14-2023 at 04:39 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  10. #6
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    thank you so much guys that is really helpful and puts my mind at rest.
    i decided to have a closer look at the snake in the egg to see if there was any obvious issues, such as a lack of egg tooth.
    although from looking through the slit in the egg it looked to be viable, it most definitely was not. the lower body of the snake was extremely kinked and the snake also looked to have a cleft lip. i could not see any of this through cutting the egg as only the neck and upper body was visible.
    itís sad but is also the circle of life, some survive and some donít. itís just a relief that it was unlikely to be human error, so thank you all for replying

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