SNAKE SKIN :
a true scaled story by Gijs van Waversveld
last upload : 06-10-2002
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The snake's skin is scaled but not in the same way like say.... a fish is. Soft folds of skin interconnect the scales on the snake. It is dry, and NOT slimy. The scales also make the skin highly flexible. ( handy for huge prey items. ) It also shines, but is not oily as some people think. And it's tough... very tough.. It can flex and bend, to avoid penetration by a prey animal's bite or a sharp branch or whatever!
The snake sheds the skin at regular intervals, or when it's needed. ( after a fight, when injured ) While humans continually produce keratin, which comes from the inside as old skin wears away from the outside, the snake grows a completely new skin from underneath the old one. After it is completely grown the old skin is shed or molted. A fluid is secreted between the old and new skin. The snake's eyes will appear cloudy and after a week or so, it will all clear up, and a mold usually follows within 48 hours. Snakes do not eat when in the process of molting, and are usually a bit short tempered. Leave your pet alone those days... After a molt, they are eager to feed, so be on your tows than also :-) actually ALWAYS be on the alert when dealing with this kinda giant snakes...
Healthy snakes will shed there skin, often in one, neat piece. The colors of the snake will look best the first 48 hours after molting. If the skin does not come off properly, you might increase the humidity a bit, next time... Or bath your snake, but be careful...
SIGNS OF A MOLT IN STAGES :
FOOD REFUSAL :
Snakes tend to pass dinner, at a coming mold...
SKIN DARKENING :
With my pythons, ( especially the wild colored ) the FIRST thing I notice, is the darkening of the top side of the head, between the eyes... the body soon follows, starting from the neck down..
EYES GETTING WHITE :
The next stage... also the skin gets a little duller, and the snake seeks the water tank more often.
DULL PHASE : takes 8 to 10 days at this stage, in my case... ( pythons at 2 meters or 6 feet ) eyes, skin and actually everything looks like &^%$^% They also crawl away, and seek refuge in the cave they have. This is where the liquid is formed between the old and new skin.. I DO NOT HANDLE THEM unless utterly needed..
CLEARING UP PHASE :
At the end of the cycle, they almost seem to have molded, but the skin is still over the new one. At my snakes the new skin is visible, and that rainbow shine is visible, but it takes a few more days to complete....
EYES ARE CLEARED AGAIN :
now it's just < 24 hours... I tend to spray some more, or bath them, to ease molting...
This is a true life concept, of what a molt in my enclosure looks like. Things at your place may differ, on size of the snake, condition and so on, but I think there will be some recognizable things here...