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How to sex a snake

sex and probe a snakeIf you wish to breed your snakes, the most important thing you need is a pair of snakes. A male and a female. Snakes do not have external sex organs, so you need to rely on some slight visual clues and skills such as probing and popping.

Male snakes have a pair of hemipenes (sex organs) that are inverted inside the snake going from the cloaca down toward the tip of the tail on either side of the snake's body.

Since the hemipenes are internal, sexing the snake visually is difficult, but not impossible as there are slight visible clues. Due to the presence or lack of the hemipenes, the visual clues relate to the shape and length of the tail:

Males have a thicker and longer tail than females, and will also taper less gradually to the tip, therefore; appearing thicker for a length then suddenly becoming thin.

Females will have a thinner and shorter tail than males. The tail will taper smoother, evenly and faster than males. Visually sexing snakes can be difficult if you don't have males and females side by side. But the difference is very noticeable if you have both sexes next to each other.

Probing a snake is an invasive procedure that requirers inserting an appropriately sized metal probe into the cloaca. If done properly and by an experienced person, it is safe and causes no pain. In males, the probe can be inserted further because of the presence of the spaces in which the hemipenes sit. In a female, the probe may only be inserted a short length because of a lack of hemipenes. This method should only be done by experienced people as inserting the probe the wrong way can cause severe injury to the snake.

Popping is a procedure that is done in very young snakes. By applying a slight pressure below the vent with a thumb, and with a motion going toward the vent, it is possible to pop the hemipenes in males so they are externally visible. If done incorrectly, the snake could be injured. Please seek the knowledge of an experienced person.