Anaconda Gets Pregnant and Gives Birth With Zero Help From Males
We stanaconda a self-sufficient reproductive queen.
Ssssisters are doing it for themselves! Anna the Anaconda, an 8-year old resident snake at the New England Aquarium in Boston, MA has managed to reproduce and spawn two baby anacondas all by herself. But don’t go calling Snake Jesus just yet: this is hardly a virgin birth. While Anna resided with only female snakes in her enclosure (to prevent mating) she managed to reproduce via a process called parthenogenesis, which allows a female organism to reproduce without fertilization from a male.
The process, which is frequently seen in plants and insects, has been observed in birds, sharks, lizards, and other snake species. Aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said of the phenomenon, “Genetically, it’s a vulnerable process … It’s among that tagline, life will find a way. It’s a completely unique and amazing reproductive strategy, but it has a low viability compared to sexual reproduction.” Nearly a dozen baby snakes were born stillborn among the two that survived.
Anacondas are the world’s largest species of snake, and Anna herself weighs in at 30 pounds with a length of 10 feet. Scientists at the aquarium did due diligence regarding the parentage, studying Anna’s history of contact with any males and running a DNA test to reveal that the babies were genetic clones of their mother.
Currently, the babies are being cared for by the aquarium, where they are being held every day to get them used to human contact (and also because who doesn’t love snake snuggles?). Obviously, we stan a single lady anaconda who doesn’t need a man and refuses to rely on the snaketriarchy. If we’re talking about men, the anaconda don’t want none. And we’re not alone: folks on social media are celebrating a single snake mom living her best life.
”She does not need no man-aconda.” 😏https://t.co/hhv4S6khsE
— Save The Snakes (@savethesnakes) May 25, 2019
Parthenogenesis isn't *unheard* of in higher lifeforms, but it's INCREDIBLY rare – this is only the second green anaconda ever documented to have done so, successfully or otherwise.
Either way "Serpent Gives Virgin Birth" is a BIT sobering even if I'm not "superstitious 😨 https://t.co/dRQxFQln86
— Bob Chipman (@the_moviebob) May 25, 2019
thoughts and prayers to my namesake currently living my actual nightmare https://t.co/JLiTvqhbjL
— Anna Gronewold (@annagronewold) May 25, 2019
No news story today gives me more hope for the future than this: https://t.co/6XcmKo891J
— Navneet Grewal (@ohsoneet) May 24, 2019
The only anaconda I know about. pic.twitter.com/nOHm6H0BSm
— ramiyah (@ramiyahx) May 25, 2019
It’s been quite a week for anacondas on social media (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type), as the giant snake started trending on social media last week. This was thanks to two bizarre new videos posted on Twitter from actor Jon Voight. Voight discussed his support for President Trump, calling him “greatest president since Abraham Lincoln”.
Folks were quick to mock Voight, and quickly started sharing GIFs and memes of the actor getting constricted by a giant snake in the trashy classic movie Anaconda. So for those of you keeping score, it’s Anacondas: 2, Jon Voight: 0. What a time to be alive.
(via Washington Post, image: Instagram/New England Aquarium)
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]