Video: Anaconda Snakes Born To Virgin Mother In Aquarium

The young snakes are clones of their mother

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The birth of 18 baby anacondas at a Boston aquarium has left many surprised, given that their mother has lived most of her life in an all-female enclosure. Anna, a female green anaconda, gave birth to 18 offsprings at the New England Aquarium in January, reports VOA News. Only two have survived.

According to the aquarium, the anaconda babies were produced through an unusual form of asexual reproduction known as parthenogenesis or "virgin birth" in Greek. The young snakes are clones of their mother, reports Boston Globe.

Parthenogenesis is extremely rare among vertebrates. In fact, the case involving Anna is only the second known instance of parthenogenesis or asexual reproduction in green anacondas.

"So with vertebrate species like this anaconda it's mostly been reported in animals that are held in captivity," said Sara Tempesta, an employee of the New England Aquarium. "So it seems to be something with holding these animals apart from males for many years that sort of cues them into reproducing in a different way."

The anaconda babies have not yet been put in the exhibit and are still being taken care of behind the scenes.

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