Watch a 70-Pound Python Queen Lay an Enormous Clutch of Eggs

Smithsonian Channel, YouTube
Smithsonian Channel, YouTube

Squeeze is a 13-foot, 70-pound female African rock python who strikes faster than the blink of an eye and can coil around a deer until it dies of a heart attack. As a mother, she’s just as fierce. In a new hour-long program called Queen of the Pythons, Smithsonian Channel follows Squeeze through the South African savannah on her journey to maternal bliss, which includes the mesmerizing footage below of her laying a colossal clutch of eggs.

Don’t be fooled by the ordinary appearance of the eggs: Each weighs about as much as a billiard ball, and she’s been carting around almost 50 of them for weeks while she searches for the perfect place to lay them. As the video's narrator explains, she finally slithers into a hollow beneath an old silver oak tree, which will not only shelter her family from bad weather, but also keep the eggs’ temperature consistent and conceal them from potential predators like monitor lizards and mongooses.

As reports, Squeeze usually has to contend with interference from nearby humans and the ever-present threat of habitat loss. But everything stops for 90 days while she’s hidden in the hollow, tightly coiled around her unborn offspring; she’ll only leave sparingly for a drink of water or brief soak in the sun, which will help her warm the eggs.

“For an animal capable of such massive displays of power,” the narrator observes, “she can be surprisingly maternal.” And, in fact, she’s one of only a few species of snakes that are maternal at all. Most snakes tend to lay their eggs and leave them to the mercy of Mother Nature.

To find out what happens next, tune in to Queen of the Pythons tonight at 8 p.m. ET on the Smithsonian Channel.

New York City Falcon Cam Reveals Nest With Four Eggs

BrianEKushner, iStock via Getty Images
BrianEKushner, iStock via Getty Images

The urban jungle of New York City supports a vibrant wildlife population. One animal that calls the city home is the peregrine falcon, once an endangered species, that has been seen around downtown Manhattan for decades. Recently, a livestream of the falcons of 55 Water Street revealed that one of them is about to be a mom.

The camera on top of the skyscraper at 55 Water Street peers into a falcon nesting site, and a female peregrine falcon there has been displaying incubating behaviors since at least late March, according to the Downtown Alliance's blog. It was assumed she had laid eggs, though this wasn't confirmed until she flew away from her nest on the afternoon of March 31. Her absence left four eggs in clear view of the building's bird camera.

It also created some concern among viewers. When female falcons leave the nest to hunt, the father usually takes over incubating duties—something that didn't happen in this case. Fortunately, the mother wasn't gone long enough to put her eggs in any real danger. She returned later that afternoon, and is currently nesting right where the internet can see her.

Peregrine falcon eggs need to be incubated for about 33 days, so expect to see them hatch sometime within the next month. In the meantime, here are some more animal livestreams to check out.

Busch Is Donating Three Months’ Worth of Beer to People Who Adopt or Foster Shelter Dogs During the Coronavirus Pandemic

This dog can turn a foster home into a forever home with one slobbery smile.
This dog can turn a foster home into a forever home with one slobbery smile.
Nataba/iStock via Getty Images

If getting to play with a happy, lovable pup isn’t already enough of an incentive to foster or adopt a shelter dog, Busch is throwing in a bonus—three months’ worth of free beer.

CNN reports that the “Foster a Dog, Get Busch” deal is available to the first 500 people who foster or adopt from Midwest Animal Rescue & Services (MARS) in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Fostering is free, and adoption costs between $200 and $600 (which covers all required vetting services, including deworming, vaccines, spaying or neutering, and more).

The offer is meant to encourage folks to help animals in need at a time when many shelters are canceling adoption events or temporarily shutting down to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. According to People, Busch is donating an additional $25,000 to MARS to keep the animals safe and cared for.

“During these uncertain and lonelier times, people need an escape: cue the cute puppy memes and photos,” a Busch spokesperson told People. “But as much as we need those cute puppy pics to help get us through social distancing, it’s actually them who need us.”

If you’re interested in hanging out with a MARS rescue and a refreshing bottle of Busch, you can apply to foster a dog here. Once you’ve finished the process and received a confirmation email from the shelter, you should send a screenshot of that email to Busch through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram before April 25. (Since only the first 500 people will be able to claim your prize, we recommend passing along that confirmation email as soon as you get it.) Busch will respond to winners via social media and send them each a prepaid debit card for $100.

You can take Busch’s advice and use it to buy a hefty supply of alcohol, or you can spend it on something else that’ll help pass the time during self-isolation—like a pop culture subscription box, or products for an indoor garden.

[h/t CNN]