Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Snake Resident

Two days ago, I was feeling lazy and I had to push myself to do a few laps in the swimming pool of an apartment. This was because I didn't feel like doing a bike ride in the hot and sunny mid-morning. 

After my swim, I was out of the pool to dry myself. Not knowing what made me turned to the bushes below me, I noticed something white and slightly shiny under the reflection of the afternoon sun.

It was longish. I observed how that thing stretched itself, made sharp turns and rubbing on a thin branch to another. Ouch... I imagined it must be quite a painful process having to stretch itself out of that. It was already dried.

The black arrows are pointing at the turning points of each branch.

I have yet to see and feel a complete discarded snake skin with its head still intact. 
The head showing its eye caps
What did I do with it? I took it home, of course. With Mandy's help, we measured the discarded skin.

The discarded skin is about the length of 125cm from the tip of the head to the tip of the tail

My guess for this species of snake from its discarded skin may be a cobra from the family Elapidae (elapids).

This is interesting. 
Ecdysis is a process of skin shedding for reptiles, arthropods, insects, etc. A healthy snake usually will shed its skin in one entire piece with little or no difficulty at all. While sick snakes, those suffering from malnutrition will tend to shed their skins in pieces and this is known as Dysecdysis

A snake will be inactive for a period of 1-2 weeks and the eyes will turn dull and cloudy.  The duration of inactivity varies for different species. During this period, the snake's vision is impaired resulting in unpredictable and aggressive behavior. The underlying new skin is soft and vulnerable to damage. 

The snake will make use of any rough surfaces within its enclosure to shed the skin. The skin of the head will start first. 

Once the snake has shed its skin successfully, it usually defecate and will look for lots of water to drink. Hmmm... no wonder this discarded skin was found in the bush by the swimming pool. Oops!!

Another interesting fact, a discarded skin is not a reliable measure of its true length!

The above is a closed up picture of the discarded skin. What a beauty! No wonder homo sapiens love to make bags out of snake skins. Psst... by the way... there is a resort here that sells ladies' bags made out of cobras, pythons and water snakes. 
This discarded skin is now sitting in a glass jar together with silica gels  to absorb extra moisture. Thanks to the Tips on How to Preserve a Shed Snake Skin


  1. Hallo! good day! mayb can add the teeny weeny fact that the post-shed thirst is meant for maximizing the size of the new skin? hmmm wait a minit.. does that apply to snakes?


  2. Hi Raoul;
    Hmm... I'm not too sure. Let me ask around. Hope to have some answers. Thank you for sharing.

    Hey Mandy;
    Hope you will find the exoskeleton of an ordonata one day.


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