10 Ssseriously Curious Snake Shedding Facts We Bet You Did not Know!

Martha Martins
Oct 04, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Nov 13, 2021
Bush Viper shedding it's skin.

Skin shedding, also called ecdysis, is a very common phenomenon in most reptilian creatures.

What makes snakes' shedding so different and interesting from shedding of other animals? Firstly, the fact that a snake sheds its entire skin cover with the complete outer layer of skin coming out in one piece amazes people.

Secondly, a specific condition where a snake cannot break off the skin in one piece is known as dysecdysis. Snake shedding has always been an area of absolute fascination and is considered normal in the animal kingdom.

In this process, the old skin tends to get replaced by a new outer layer having new skin cells intact; the old layer of skin tends to shed off, and a new layer takes over (the process is called ecdysis). Ecdysis, also known as molting, is a very common phenomenon in snakes.

Most snakes tend to shed their skin cover regularly in order to serve the needs of their bodies.

Various factors like humidity levels, the presence of rough surfaces, parasites attached to the snake's body, and the pace of growth tend to affect this process called ecdysis. How much they grow depends on the phase of growth.

One can figure out the snake species by its shed skin. Considering various factors like scales on the outer layer, the color of the old skin, the pattern, the diameter, the location, and the condition of the skin (whether it's a healthy shed or not) can quite accurately help one in determining the species of the snake.

The shedding as well the development of a snake's body are two interrelated phenomena. Snakes tend to shed their skin in order to outgrow themselves. However, as snakes grow in size week after week, the skin fails to do so.

Therefore, in order to accommodate the following changes, snakes tend to shed their layers of old skin and get new layers. The new layer of skin is much more stretchable than the last one and tends to accommodate the changing dynamics of the snake's body subtly.

Further, since the entire affair of shedding is related to the growth factor, younger snakes shed their skin more often than grown ones. Continue reading further in order to discover more interesting facts about snake shedding.

If you liked reading this blog, then don't forget to read about snake jaw and smallest snake here on Kidadl.

Is shedding painful for snakes?

While shedding (ecdysis) is a very natural and normal phenomenon in all animals, it tends to differ in reptiles in comparison to humans. While humans tend to gradually shed as it is an ongoing process, snakes, belonging to the class Reptilia, tend to shed their skin in one go.

While snakes don't really experience a significant amount of pain, they do feel a little uncomfortable with their bodies or skin during that period of time.

Their eyes become milky blue, and they tend to shed away their entire skin stretching from their nose to the tip in one go, which can be quite uncomfortable. Snakes tend to feel quite anxious throughout this entire process of shedding.

Therefore, it is advised for people with a snake as a pet to avoid or reduce their physical interaction with the snake and touch the snake only if absolutely necessary during the snake's skin shedding periods.

What do snakes do after shedding their skin?

Snakes prefer soaking in water after shedding their skin to calmly settle and comfort themselves.

Most snakes tend to go to water bodies to immerse themselves in order to help their new skin get adjusted and loosen up accordingly. Such soaking also helps them if they struggle or show signs of dysecdysis.

Do snakes stay where they shed?

During the shedding period, snakes tend to look for places that can provide them with the ground to create friction upon. They look for places to go where they can rub their skin in order to take it off.

As they continue shedding, snakes are in their most vulnerable state since their eye caps are covered with a milky blue, thick membrane in order to protect them.

Therefore, a quiet place with ground to offer friction for their bodies and protection for their eye caps is where a snake generally sheds.

Although there hasn't been any solid evidence of snakes revisiting their shedding place, one must not forget the fact that if this reptile was there once, it can come back, if not particularly for the shed skin, but because of the surroundings.

How many times a year does a snake shed its skin?

Shedding skin is a gradual, ongoing process in human beings; however, on the contrary, snakes, belonging to the class of reptile, tend to shed their skin in one go. An average snake sheds almost 4-12 times in a complete year.

The time gap between shedding ranges from three weeks to two months. There is no specific month when they shed their skin.

Furthermore, the age of the snake also plays a primary role in deciding the frequency of shedding. While newborns tend to shed their skin once every week, snakes between the age bracket of one to six months shed their skin once every two to four weeks.

Additionally, snakes in the age bracket of 7-18 months shed their skin once every two to three months. Lastly, the fully grown-up, well-developed snakes shed their skin once after every three to six months.

Did you know?

Most snakes tend to form a rip in their old skin, either at the frontal end or at the posterior end, in order to ensure easy shedding. Now, creating a rip indeed needs some friction. Therefore, most snakes tend to look for places where they can rub themselves against rough solid objects, which would help them shed better.

Additionally, snakes are at their most vulnerable state at that point in time; their eye caps become milky blue in color, and snakes may feel discomfort and anxiety; therefore, an isolated place with no hindrance is also an option.

Snakes must not be touched during their shedding periods; even though your snake might not be a defensive one, most snakes at this point in time are very jumpy and might attack you.

Snakes are not the only creatures which molt yet their molting is quite fascinating due to the manner in which their skin comes off. The primary reason for a snake's molting is its health-growth factor.

Shedding in reptiles like snakes is a very important phenomenon. All snakes, from the python to the tiniest breeds, tend to get rid of their old skin, i.e., molt. However, the frequency of molting might differ from one species to another in order to maintain their health and cells.

The basic idea behind shedding is the fact that while snakes grow, they tend to outgrow their old skin, i.e., their previous skin isn't big enough to accommodate their body any more. Therefore, in order to accommodate their growing bodies, they tend to molt and develop new skin cells and scales.

This is the same reason why younger snakes shed more than older ones, as younger ones are still in their growing stage. Getting rid of parasites attached to the skin of snakes is yet another reason for molting.

There is no particular season for molting. Snakes tend to shed their skin approximately every two to three weeks. The frequency tends to vary from one snake to another based on age.

Usually, people tend to get fascinated after finding a snakeskin. However, you must not forget to understand the fact that if you have found a snakeskin lying in your yard, that means that the snake has been residing in your vicinity for quite some time now, which is quite a dangerous thing.

You must use caution. You can identify the snake by examining the patterns, color, and thickness of the skin.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our article for 10 ssseriously curious snake shedding facts then take a look at Sobek Egyptian God or space rocks: what are they?

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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