How Often Does a Snake Shed Its Skin?

how often does a snake shed its skin

Snakes, like other reptiles, will shed their skin regularly. It is part of their way to remove dead skin cells and also allow for growth. In this article, we will ask: how often does a snake shed its skin?

Why Does a Snake Shed?

All animals must shed their outer layers of skin. Mammals do this all the time, in little fine particles, so small that you won’t notice you’re shedding your skin. These fine particles are one of the largest components of dust.

Snakes and reptiles tend to shed their skin periodically in one go (though there are a few exceptions). Part of the reason for this is because the old skin cells have died and they need to be replaced by fresh skin cells. Another reason is that as reptiles grow, their old skin becomes too restrictive, so they need a new skin that is larger to accommodate their larger bodies.

Shedding is also a good way to heal cuts, grazes, or even burns suffered during day-to-day life. After a few sheds, most signs of an injury to a reptile can disappear.

How Often Does a Snake Shed Its Skin?

The frequency of a snake shed can vary on the species, individual, and age. Young snakes are going to shed more often as they go through rapid growth. Larger snakes, like boas, can shed maybe once or twice a year.

Therefore, there is no set answer to the question, it is just when the snake needs to shed.

What is more interesting about shedding is that snakes seem to be able to coordinate their shedding. At DJL Exotics, we notice that instead of a steady stream of sheds throughout the month or quarter, we get the snakes shedding all at the same time. Often one or two will start the process and then the rest of the snakes will shed.

It isn’t just us who have noticed this. Other keepers with multiple individuals have noticed that snakes do seem to coordinate their shedding.

There are numerous reasons why this might happen, but there is no research into the accuracy of this observation or the reasons behind it. Perhaps it is a defence mechanism. Or perhaps it is because there is a pheromone released during the shedding process that encourages others to shed.

It would be interesting if further research was done into this.

Final Word: How Often Does a Snake Shed Its Skin?

Snakes can shed on their own schedule. Some species, like corn snakes, can shed every two to three months. Younger snakes will shed more often as they are growing at a faster rate. During the shedding phase, snakes will most often not eat and can become less tolerant of handling.

So if your snake has gone into shed, leave it alone. Let it complete the process. It will be quicker and much happier for this.

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