The following photos show the developmental stages of reticulated python eggs from around day 50 onwards. Please be aware that cutting the eggs is a controversial practice at the very best of times so to do so at such an early stage is in no way advocated.
It is worth noting however, using specialist methods, the eggs shown in these photos produced healthy babies. Despite being cut halfway through the development process.
A normal sized reticulated python egg can be expected to hatch around 3 months after being laid. During that time the development from a collection of cells to a fully formed animal is both rapid and amazing.
After only a few hours, the outer membrane attaches itself the the egg wall. This means that unlike bird eggs, reptile eggs dont need to be turned. Infact, if reticulated python eggs are turned then the developing snake inside is likely to drown.
At around day 50 the eggs contain almost visually perfect mini reticulated pythons. All that is left to develop is pattern and colour.
At around day 65 we can clearly see basic pattern beginning to form. These dark lines are a result of Melanin being formed within certain cells, which is caused by Tyrosinase. These two chemicals, and there production are heavily linked to many of the colour morphs which can be found in this species. They are discussed later on in the appropriate morph pages.
At around day 80 the earlier lines we saw have deepened in colour, changing from greys to sold black. Now also present is the beginnings of colours such as browns, golds and silvers
At around day 95 the colours and patterns are almost fully complete.
At around day 100 the inhabitant of the egg is physically ready to hatch. At this point it would use an egg tooth (seen at the tip of the snout on the below photo) to cut it's way out of the egg. Although it may be able to leave the egg straight away, it will not do so for between 24-72 hours. During this time the baby reticulated python will digest the contents of the yolk sack. Only once this has happened will it voluntarily hatch. Over a very short period, any remaining umbilical cord will be retracted into the snakes belly. This opening heals over in a few shed skins.
Many of the eggs shown on this page have brown flecks on them. This is not mould, it is simply the result of incubating in sphagnum moss, where particles adhere themselves to the eggs.