Why Snakes Shed Skin

Moulted snake skin

Moulted snake skin

Seeing a snake while it sheds off its skin is a fascinating sight. At the same time, many people do not really know the reason why this phenomenon in snakes occurs.

Basically, a snake will shed its skin to allow continued growth. The skin of a snake is different from the skin of a mammal in that it does not grow as the animal grows. Unlike humans, as we grow bigger and older, our skin grows along. On the other hand, the snake skin has a limited capacity for growth and enlargement. Thus, when a snake outgrows the skin, it simply gets rid of the outer layer of its skin.

Ecdysis is the scientific term for shedding of the skin. Technically, when a snake sheds, it only loses the outermost layer. The actual skin is fully intact. After shedding their skin, the snake becomes more vibrant.

At times, snakes may have problems while shedding their skin. A snake is supposed to shed in one piece, but sometimes it is a patchy shed. Instead of working the whole skin off in one session, only bits and pieces come off, with lots of skin retained on the body. A normal shed would be done within a period of several hours or less from the time the shed is initiated. A patchy shed usually goes on for several days.

If your pet snake is having problems in shedding it’s skin, here are some details on how you can help.

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