Russell’s Viper, Reticulated Pythons Bred at Pilikula Biological (Reptile) Park
Mangaluru: With snakes of different species breeding in captivity at Pilikula Biological Park for a long time, at present neonates are being born from the eggs of two Reticulated Pythons, considered to be the world’s longest snake, at the park for the third time.
Russell’s viper and reticulated pythons were bred at the reptile park of the Pilikula Biological Park (PBP), in the Pilikula NisargaDhama, and these reptiles were kept in separate enclosures during their breeding period, to avoid disturbance, while visitors entered the reptile park.
According to the Director of the park H. Jayaprakash Bhandary, the two Reticulated Pythons had laid 50 eggs two months ago. The eggs are hatching after two months of natural incubation by the mothers. The gestation period after mating is about a month. The non-venomous Reticulated Python is ferocious when compared to Rock Python,” he said, adding that Reticulated Python was not common in India but is found in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Bhandary added that the Pilikula Park had brought five Reticulated Pythons from Chennai about five years ago. Of them, one python had laid seven eggs for the first time in the park. Later, another one laid 25 eggs. He said, “Reticulated Python was under threat owing to the high demand for its skin as it was hunted. They can grow up to 30 ft. long. The park had given 10 Reticulated Pythons born in captivity earlier to other zoos under the animal exchange programme. They cannot be released in the Western Ghats as they are not endemic to the ghats, and when their numbers increased they had to be given to other zoos.
He also said that the venomous Russell’s Viper has now given birth to 16 neonates in the park. While reproducing they do not lay eggs on the ground like many other snakes. They are ovoviviparous. “Earlier, Malabar Pit Viper, Stump Nosed Pit Viper, Common Krait and many other species of snakes have bred under captivity in the park. A march crocodile has also bred in the park which now has a total of 24. Animals/birds laying eggs and giving birth to off-springs reflected the conducive atmosphere for breeding in the park,” added Bhandary.