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Virgin birth? Snake produces babies without a male!

An anaconda has given birth to three female babies at West Midlands Safari Park despite never having been near a male.

It's incredibly rare but the babies are clones of the mother through a process known as parthenogenesis.

It's thought to be the first time a female anaconda had produced on her own, as before the process has only happened in species such as, rattlesnakes and a komodo dragon.

Shock as female snake has 'virgin birth' in safari park

A female snake has had a 'virgin birth' at West Midlands Safari Park Credit: Erwin Patzelt/DPA/Press Association Images

A female snake has given birth despite never being near a male.

The Green Anaconda at West Midlands Safari Park shares a habitat with another female and experts say it is a 'virgin birth'.

They say the 'neonates' are clones of the mother.

What had occurred is known to scientists as parthenogenesis, literally Greek for ‘virgin birth’, and this appears to be first time the process has been documented for anacondas. This form of virgin birth has only been reported on in very rare occasions in the past - in a rattlesnake, a rainbow boa, garter snakes and a Komodo dragon.

– Mark O’Shea, Consultant Curator of Reptiles


'A fitting tribute': Baby elephant named after Stephen Sutton

A spokesman for West Midlands Safari Park, has called the naming of a 5-week-old baby elephant after Stephen Sutton a 'fitting tribute to an inspirational young man' and recalled the moment when the cancer hero met the calf's mother earlier this year.

A 5-week-old baby elephant has been named 'Sutton' after the heroic cancer victim Credit: West Midlands Safari Park

Bob Lawrence, Director of Wildlife, said:

This is a fitting tribute to an inspirational young man who captured the hearts and minds of so many for his remarkable achievements. Stephen and his mother, Jane, met Five in January 2014 before the calf was born...

...It was number 30 on Stephen's bucket list to "Hug an animal that is bigger than me". In the event, I think Stephen's legacy has turned into something even bigger...

...There is also another remarkable side to this story. The calf's father - a wild bull elephant from South Africa - is called 'Steve'! The Parks' Consultant Vet for this project - IZW Berlin - chose 'Steve' because he was a magnificent specimen of an African elephant.

Baby elephant named 'Sutton' in Stephen's honour

Staff at West Midlands Safari Park have named a baby elephant in Stephen Sutton's honour, after conducting a poll on social media.

A 5-week-old baby elephant has been named 'Sutton' after the heroic cancer victim Credit: West Midlands Safari Park

The 5-week-old calf already weighs 130kg and is the the first baby elephant to be born at West Midland Safari Park in its 41-year history.

To mark the event, staff decided to launch an online competition to decide on a name.

Perhaps owing to the image of Stephen hugging the calf's mother 'Five' back in January - as one of his bucket list wishes to 'hug an animal bigger than me' - there were around 2,000 suggestions each for the names 'Stephen' and 'Sutton'.

Elephant living in Birmingham takes world's first 'elfie'

An elephant at West Midlands Safari Park has become the first in the world to take an 'elfie' after a man dropped his phone while driving through the wildlife park.

African elephant Latabe taking the 'elfie' Credit: SWNS

Staff told Scott Brierley to continue driving when he dropped his phone and when he later retrieved it, he was stunned to see the African elephant had captured a picture of herself with her trunk.

Scott says he now has the world's first elephant 'selfie', which was taken on Monday.

Scott with the elephant before he dropped his phone Credit: SWNS

Scott, said:

"I really couldn't believe when the iPhone came back, I pressed the centre button to check it was still working and wow there it was - me and my friend were in shock."

"The elephant had taken two pictures, but the second isn't very good. I have shown everybody the elephant selfie, and they all love it."

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