Animal Diaries Archive
Shedding skin, Sloughing, going Opaque
31 July 2007
There comes a time in every snake's life when its time for a fresh new skin, well quite a few actually. I'm talking of course about shedding skin, sloughing or going 'opaque'. All reptiles shed their skin as they grow, some, in the case of most lizards shed skin in flakes over the course of a few days where as snake's slough their entire skin in one go.
The amount of times a snake sheds its skin per year is dependant on quite a few factors. Firstly age; younger animals will shed more often than older ones as they grow faster approaching maturity, once a snake reaches a mature size its growth rate slows down significantly, but they will continue to shed for their entire life. Secondly environmental factors play a huge role. If conditions are favourable all year round such as in equatorial regions snakes will be active and feeding for the entire year thus growing and shedding more often than snakes that are inactive during the winter months.
Lilly is without a doubt the most popular and by far the biggest snake at Australia Zoo For those of you who don't know her she is a reticulated python measuring in at nearly 7m and about 150kg so when she sheds her skin it's a huge clean up job. Unfortunately at her size it's impossible for her to shed in one piece so we end up with bits of scale from one end of her enclosure to the other. During the period when a snake is 'opaque' (referring to the dull appearance of the skin and cloudy colour of the eyes) they remain fairly inactive and tend to by rather grumpy.
Our Amazing Reticulated Pythons
Reticulated Pythons have amazing patterns on their bodies which are designed to help them blend into the leaf litter of the rainforests. These patterns are a mi ...more