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College shocked at rare asexual snake birth
The birth is an extremely rare phenomenon known as parthenogenesis.
Ronaldo the Brazilian rainbow boa gave birth to 14 snakelets.

Ronaldo, a 13-year-old Brazilian rainbow boa, has given birth to 14 baby snakelets – despite previously being thought to be male.

Staff and students at the City of Portsmouth College, where the six-foot snake lives, were especially shocked since Ronaldo had not been in contact with other snakes in at least nine years.

The birth is believed to be an extremely rare phenomenon called parthenogenesis. Parthenogenesis, a natural form of asexual reproduction, occurs when embryos develop without fertilisation.

Although it takes place in other animals and plants, this is only the third documented case in a captive Brazilian rainbow boa.

The birth was discovered by a student at the college, as part of a routine vivarium check. With Ronaldo previously declared male by a veterinary surgeon, staff thought that the student was mistaken.

After seeing the 14 snakelets, the college called in Pete Quinlan, a reptile specialist who had been caring for Ronaldo. The snake had been in Mr Quinlan’s care for the past nine years, after being adopted from the RSPCA.

Mr Quinlan has now started working out what sex the snakelets are, and is setting up 14 vivaria for the new arrivals. Once they are grown, the snakes will be rehomed.

The college hopes that the unexpected arrival will provide students with an opportunity to learn about the development of baby snakes.

Mr Quinlan said: “I’ve been breeding snakes for 50 years and I’ve never known this happen before. Effectively the babies are clones of their mother although their markings are all slightly different.

“Ronaldo had been looking slightly fatter than usual, like he’d eaten a big meal, but we never thought for a moment that he, or should we say she, was pregnant.”

Image © City of Portsmouth College

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Special imports digital service set to change

News Story 1
 From Monday, 15 July, Special Import Certificate (SIC) applications will only be accepted via the Veterinary Medicines Directorate's (VMD's) new special imports digital service.

The original online special import scheme will be decommissioned. The VMD says that the new service is easier to use, more secure and reliable, and meets accessibility legislation.

The VMD is urging veterinary surgeons who have not yet signed up for the new service to do so before 15 July. The new digital service can be accessed here

Click here for more...
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RCVS course explains concerns process

A free, online course from the RCVS Academy has been launched, designed to clarify RCVS' concerns procedure.

The content will give veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses a better understanding of the process, and what they can expect if a concern is raised about them. It includes details of common concerns.

The interactive resource has been developed in collaboration with Clare Stringfellow, case manager in the RCVS Professional Conduct Team.

Ms Stringfellow said: "We appreciate that concerns can be very worrying, and we hope that, through this course, we can give vets and nurses a better understanding of the process and how to obtain additional support."

The course can be accessed via the RCVS Academy. Users are encouraged to record their learning for CPD.