Snake Shedding

Dysecdysis – Shedding Problems

Throughout their lives, reptiles shed their skin. This is a normal event and, if kept in the proper environment, most reptiles have no problems. In snakes, the shedded skin is often removed in a single piece. In many lizards, skin is shed is pieces. Turtles and tortoises intermittently shed scutes and skin.

For snakes, a normal typical shed usually takes about 7 to 14 days. The skin becomes dull and a whitish cover develops over the eyes. The snake begins rubbing against rough objects in the cage to begin removing the shedded skin. With time, the skin is removed as one long inside-out piece.

A problem during shedding is considered a symptom of an underlying problem and not a disease in itself. Usually involving snakes, there are a variety of things that can cause an abnormal shed. Finding the problem and correcting it is crucial in maintaining a healthy snake.

Most shedding problems are due to poor husbandry and inappropriate management. Handling the snake during a shed can easily cause dysecdysis (the medical term for abnormal shedding), which may lead to permanent skin damage. Other causes of abnormal sheds include poor nutrition, low humidity and a lack of furniture or objects that the snake can use to rub against to remove the skin.

What to Watch For


Preventative Care