Madurai

Python eggs hatched in captivity under natural conditions

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Four young pythons have come out of eggs kept at Forest department’s veterinary hospital

TIRUNELVELI

In a rare case, python eggs have been hatched in captivity under natural conditions (without using incubators) in Forest department’s veterinary hospital at Ponnakudi near here.

When some residents of Kirubha Nagar in Palayamkottai saw a 10-foot-long rock python slithering through thorny bushes on July 3, they informed Fire and Rescue Services personnel, who caught the reptile. As they saw around 30 eggs of the python in its nest amidst the bushes, they handed over the reptile and the eggs to the forest personnel. The snake had apparently incubated the eggs for 45 to 50 days (total period is 75 days).

While releasing the python at Thalaiyanai near Manimuthar dam, forest veterinarian A. Sugumar took the eggs to forest hospital at Ponnakudi on Tirunelveli–Nagercoil highway. When one of the eggs accidentally broke, he saw a snake foetus inside that gave a spark to the veterinarian of hatching the other eggs under natural conditions.

“After getting technical advice from python specialist Ramesh of Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun and Srikumar, Head, Department of Wildlife Science, TANUVAS, Chennai, I prepared a small room to test my luck. After taking the huge bag full of soil and dry leaves from the place where the eggs were found, I heaped it in the small room. After placing the eggs on it to create the prior natural ambience, I covered it with a hut-shaped cardboard to create partly dark environment and put dry creepers all over the cardboard,” Dr. Sugumar said.

To maintain optimum humidity inside this room, small plants in pots were placed besides laying wet gunny bags on the floor. Though six eggs got spoilt in due course, on the 26th day of this experiment – July 29 – Dr. Sugumar’s efforts yielded result as the first python came out of the egg.

“I was thrilled when I saw the young python coming out of the egg as this is the first python to be hatched in captivity under natural conditions in the country. So far, four young pythons have come out of the eggs,” Dr. Sugumar said.

The young ones, each measuring between 50 and 55 cm, are very brisk. After measuring the length and the recording the skin pattern, the hatchlings will be released in the Western Ghats.

“We’ve decided to release the hatchlings in the dense jungle beyond Thalaiyanai in Kalakkad on Wednesday. They can survive even without food for around 30 days,” Dr. Sugumar said.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 4:45:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/python-eggs-hatched-in-captivity-under-natural-conditions-tirunelveli/article28762385.ece

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