A Madagascan boa has become the first at a Spanish zoo to give birth to snakelets.
The Acrantophis dumerili, commonly known as Dumeril’s boa, similar to and often confused as the Madagascar ground boa, is a non-venomous boa species found on Madagascar.
The only female boa at Valencia Bioparc in the eastern Spanish region of Valencia has given birth to 11 hatchlings.
The park has four adult boas in total, three males and the female that arrived in 2016 from the ZooParc de Beauval in France.
Park employees said they have been observing the snake for the past eight months and when its pregnancy was visible they isolated it from the rest of the group for monitoring.
After the gestation period, the 11 snakelets hatched in a healthy condition.
They range in weight from 50 grammes (1.7 ounces) up to 100 grammes (3.5 ounces) while their average length is 50 centimetres (18.7 inches).
The mother boa and her 11 younglings will remain in isolation until it is decided that they are ready to be moved to their new specially-designed terrarium.
Valencia Bioparc spokesperson Carlota de Dios told Newsflash that the snakes have been introduced in an area based on West African and Madagascan conditions.
She added: “Regarding the Dumeril’s boa, it is worth mentioning that it is ovoviviparous, so the eggs hatch inside the mother’s body.
“As there are few natural predators in Madagascar, Dumeril’s boas have fewer offspring than other boas, allowing hatchlings to be larger at birth.”
Carlota de Dios told Newsflash: “Valencia Bioparc currently participates in breeding programmes such as the Endangered Species Reproduction Programs (EEP), and the Species Registry Programme (ESB).
“Each EEP is dedicated to a particular species and has a coordinator, someone who has a special interest and expert knowledge of the species. They must also work in an EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria) centre.
“Each ESB registry has a person in charge of collecting data from EAZA zoos that house the species regarding births, deaths, transfers, and other information.
“The data is entered into computer programmes that allow ESB managers to analyse the information for recommendations regarding their breeding and other matters.”
In Spain, Dumeril’s boas are only available to see at Valencia Bioparc and the Tabernas Desert nature park in Andalusia.
In some areas of Madagascar, snakes are captured for food and their skin. Locals also kill them to protect their domestic chickens.