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General Knowledge

Why do Snakes shed their skin?

Why do Snakes shed their skin?

Have you ever wondered why Snakes shed their skin or how does it happen? I came to know about the reason and the actual process only very recently. In fact, every one of us as well as all animals do it some way or the other. But we don’t do it all at once. Humans shed millions of skin cells everyday. Snakes and other animals shed a layer of skin in one continuous piece, a process called Ecdysis, which occurs between four and twelve times a year.

The Snake is a long reptile and cold-blooded animal. They have no legs to move from once place to another. Instead, they move along by wriggling their body. Snakes have dry, smooth skin which they shed regularly.

How and why does the Snake sheds its skin

Snake skin gets wear and tear due to the slithering (sliding or slipping) along the ground. Human and Animal (other) skin get wear and tear by natural process. New skin grows underneath the existing skin. In Snakes, when the new skin is fully formed, a fluid is secreted between the two skins which keep them apart and lubricated.

The fluid behind the transparent eye scale of the Snake clouds the eye and hence it cannot see anything for few days. During these days the Snake hides itself from other animals and then spits the old skin at its lips by rubbing its head. The the old skin is replaced by the new one. The old skin is turned inside out as the Snake wriggles out.

While the body of the Snake continues to grow, the skin does not. Also the shedding of skin removes parasites.

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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