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Chester Zoo reveals rare South East Asian native snakes are pregnant

High-tech equipment means snake experts have spotted the snakes are carrying young early in their term

Chester Zoo has revealed two rare snakes are expected to give birth in a matter of weeks after pregnancy ultrasounds revealed they are carrying fertile eggs.

The South East Asian native snakes – mainly found in Thailand and southern Vietnam – are expected to enter the world at Chester Zoo in the new few weeks.

Unlike the majority of snakes which lay eggs – tentacled snakes are an aquatic species that produce eggs inside their body during pregnancy.

The species does not live at any other UK zoo.

Lead keeper Matt Cook said: “It’s difficult to determine if they are pregnant until late on in their term when they appear physically plumper.

“But thanks to our high-tech scanning equipment, we’ve been able to carry out ultrasounds which clearly show that two of our snakes are carrying eggs and are expecting young.

“These ultrasound scans have now given us the best possible indicator of how far into a pregnancy the snakes are.

“It’s very useful information to have and helps with our preparations.”

Related: Chester Zoo sees rare mountain horned dragons born

Chester Zoo will now start prepping small fish ready for when the young are born as tentacled snakes start hunting within just a few hours of being born.

The snakes get their name from the unique tentacles on their head which can sense the smallest of vibrations coming from surrounding fish and unsuspecting prey in the water.

The new born snakes will be on show at the zoo’s Monsoon Forest, part of the new Islands project, which is home to a variety of animals and reptiles that can be found across South East Asia.

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David Holmes
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