When Do Snakes Shed Their Skin?

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It’s not uncommon to see a snake shedding its skin. In fact snakes shed their skin regularly – usually every few weeks – as part of their natural growth process.

But why do snakes shed their skin? And what’s actually going on during this process?

In this article we’ll take a closer look at when snakes shed their skin why they do it and how it benefits them.

When Do Snakes Shed Their Skin?

As we mentioned snakes shed their skin regularly – usually every few weeks. However the frequency with which they shed their skin can vary depending on a few factors such as the species of snake the temperature and humidity levels and how much they’ve grown.

Generally speaking though most snakes will shed their skin multiple times per year.

Why Do Snakes Shed Their Skin?

There are a few reasons why snakes shed their skin.

First it helps them to get rid of any parasites that may be living on their skin. These parasites can cause irritation and infection so shedding their skin helps snakes to stay healthy.

Secondly shedding their skin helps snakes get rid of any old injuries or damage to their skin. This is important for snakes because they don’t have the ability to heal their skin as we do.

Lastly snakes shed their skin to help them grow. As they grow their skin becomes tighter and doesn’t fit as well. Shedding their skin helps them to “reset” their skin so that it fits better and is less likely to tear.

What Actually Happens During Shedding?

Shedding their skin is a multi-step process for snakes.

First the old skin begins to loosen and separate from the new skin underneath. This process is helped along by the snake’s shedding hormone which is produced by the pituitary gland.

Once the old skin is loosened the snake will begin to rub against rough surfaces – such as rocks or tree bark – to help peel the old skin off.

Once the majority of the old skin is off the snake will consume it. This helps to add nutrients back into their system and helps to get rid of any parasites that may be living on the old skin.

After the old skin is off the snake’s new skin will be soft and delicate. To help protect this new skin the snake will often bask in the sun or hide away from predators.

As the new skin hardens and dries the snake will start to shed any excess skin that’s left over.

Conclusion

As you can see snakes shed their skin for a variety of reasons. This process helps them to stay healthy get rid of old injuries and grow.

If you ever see a snake shedding its skin it’s best to leave it alone and give it some space. This is a natural process for them and they’ll be back to their normal selves in no time.