How do Reptiles Reproduce

There are many ways reptiles reproduce. Weather you’ve seen their young in the wild or captivity. You may have never heard of some of the interesting facts gathered here. Check this out:

There are three very different ways they are made.

Virgin Geckos
In the Pacific Islands there have been reports of Asexual Geckos. That means they never have sex to give birth to young. These female geckos are often born sterile or born with the same genes of the mother so thus they are also female and the cycle repeats. It is assumed that two species of sexual geckos can produce a new species of an asexual hybrid. The new hybrid will carry 44 chromosomes in al their body cells. Twenty-two from both parents donated. So obviously the egg can grow into a hatchling without first being fertilized by sperm. The name of the most popular hybrid is Lepidodactylus luguhris, what a mouthful.

Geckos are not the only lizard found to be parthenogenic. In New Mexico there are three species of whiptail lizards a skink-like creature that will lay up to four unfertilized eggs that will hatch apparently eight weeks later.

A komodo dragon recently had a virgin birth apparently producing eight viable eggs without any assistance from a boy. Her name is Flora and she lives in Chester Zoo in Europe. She had given the zoo a clutch of eight eggs but three failed to incubate. With Komodo dragons it is the female not the male that carries XY-Type chromosome, scientists discovered.

Live birth
Ovoviviparous is the term used for reptiles that seem to have a live birth. This means they carry the eggs internally. The young stay with the mother snake for a week before going off on their own. However there are natural benders to every rule. It is especially beneficial for snakes that live in colder climates because a pregnant mother can bask in the sun to keep her developing offspring warm. Most young are born tail first but as with most life there are exceptions.

Egg layers
Oviparous is the correct scientific word for animals that lay eggs with a shell from which the offspring emerge. Most reptile eggs have a leather-like shell that thins as the hatch date looms near. Turtles have harder egg shells.

Crocs and Alligators have temperature determined young. Which means the boys and girls are picked not by genetics but by the average temperature during the middle third of their incubation period. Females are predominant males have a five degree range. After the eggs are laid which is in November or December for African Crocodiles, the incubation period occurs and takes three months. Before hatching the young will start to make chirping noises which signals to the mother to rip open the covered nest. The mother and sometimes father will pick up the eggs and roll them between their mouths to help the hatchlings break free of the shell. Once hatched the mother will take the young in her mouth to the water bed or direct them.

Taking a step back
During mating seasons almost all lizards are attracted couples. The female will normally choose the largest most dominant male to determine the coupling for their young. The strongest birth will impend from the best coupling. So females will have to make their decision wisely.

Turtles are similar to lizards that they include a courtship period which may include head-bobbing, push-ups (to flex the muscles), stroking and noises. Sometimes more dance-like movements for the versatile and quicker breeds. Male bellies are curved in to allow a turtle to mount and get their sexes closer together.

Sex organ
All reptiles share a cloaca the sex organ, urination & defecation opening, and egg laying point. Some species can apparently store sperm for some time before using it. To the casual looker it resembles a slit or belly button appearance. It’s simple enough to discover how this works during sexual relations between male and female. All species try to intertwine the area the cloaca’s are located and shift the sperm to the female.

Hopefully we’ve gotten your wheels spinning and you learned something new about the reproduction of reptiles. Look twice at Spot or Rex. See if you can figure out what type of birth they will give. Maybe you’ll have an unexpected experience.