In biology, molting also known as shedding or in many invertebrates, ecdysis, is the manner in which an animal routinely casts off a part of its body. It can involve shedding the epidermis (skin), pelage (hair, feather, fur), or other external layers.
The fact that snakes can shed their skin has always fascinated those with a curious mind. But why must they shed their skin?
Snakes shed their skin for a variety of reasons. The most commonly known reason is that, as snakes grow in size, they shed their skin to make room for this growth.
Unlike humans and other animals which have skin that grows along with them, snake skin is not as flexible. Snakes will also shed because their old skin has become worn out and is therefore in need of replacement. Shedding their skin also allows them to remove some of the parasites that were in it.
As humans, we also shed our skin. The difference between us and snakes is that our skin is replaced in a gradual process, a few cells at a time, while snakeskin must be replaced all at once.
In one viral video of a snake shedding its skin, a lot of people have been giving false information on aiding a snake while it’s shedding. To help clear things out, one reader who goes by the name Stuart Mitchell answered a couple of frequently asked questions about the matter.
“Does it hurt the snake if you peel their skin off? Short answer… No, it does not. It’s quite common to up the humidity and even moistens their skin to aid peeling, and many owners will tell you that it helps the snake if you help them peel. From this video, you can easily tell the peeled skin is soft and moistened as it doesn’t break or crack. The second clue is if it hurt the snake, you would know about it real quick…
Does it harm their new skin? Again… No, it does not. A snakes viv should have the correct UV lighting, the UV acts then heal the new skin quite rapidly, and it’s actually very soothing for the snake to have the old tight skin off. So there… A little research doesn’t hurt.”
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