OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma City Zoo welcomed five Halmahera python hatchlings - the first in history to be bred in human care.
The pythons were born in the Herpetarium habitat on November 10.
The Halmahera python is a large, nonvenomous snake, native to the Indonesian island of Halmahera.
Officials at the zoo say they had been attempting to produce Halmahera python hatchlings for five years before finding the optimal environment for reproductive success.
According to the zoo, the manipulation of temperature, humidity and varying their dietary intake seasonally were all crucial factors in stimulating breeding. Once the eggs were laid, the zoo’s reptile and amphibian caretakers gathered them to be incubated. As time progressed, it was revealed to zoo caretakers that Halmahera pythons contribute to the number of known long-incubation snake species, taking 90 days to hatch - as opposed to short-incubation species, which take up to 60 days.
“To have successfully bred this rare species of python was an extraordinary feat, which required an enormous amount of knowledge, diligence and dedication,” said Blake Bauer, assistant curator of herpetology at the OKC Zoo. “With this ground-breaking achievement, the OKC Zoo has gained invaluable insight that can be shared with other organizations to protect the viability of the Halmahera python in the future.”
The newest additions are not yet viewable to the public. Caretakers will observe the young pythons' first developmental milestones behind the scenes.
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