WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – The National Zoo has some rare, new friends slithering around its reptile center.

Eight tentacled snakes were born on Oct. 21 to parents that have not produced viable young in the past four years, despite breeding attempts, zoo officials say.

The four adult snakes are currently on exhibit at the Reptile Discovery Center, but they youngsters will likely be sent to other zoos when they get a little older. Only a few zoos currently exhibit this species, which are listed on the ‘threatened species’ website.

“Within a few hours of being born, the snakes were already acting like adults,” said Matt Evans, Reptile Discovery Center keeper. “Instincts took over and they were hunting. We don’t know much about this cryptic species, but we’re already learning so much just watching them grow.”

Tentacled snakes are a unique aquatic breed that produce live young and use their tails to anchor themselves as they wait underwater for their pray.

They get their name from the tentacles that protrude from their snout which function as sensory mechanisms, allowing the snakes to pick up vibrations from fish that swim by.

tentacled snake photo brittany steff smithsonian s national zoo Eight Rare Tentacled Snakes Born at National Zoo

Eight Tentacled Snakes Born at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo for First Time in 11 Years. (Credit: Brittany Steff, Smithsonian’s National Zoo)


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