Molting In Snakes

Molting, a crucial moment in the life of your snake, of which we do not always know everything. What is molting in snakes? How long does the molting period of a snake last? What are the first signs of molting? What to do in the event of a difficult molt?

In this guide, we will try to understand how the molt works in the snake. This skin replacement in some reptiles is essential and complex. Discover the different phases of molting to help your snake molt in better conditions.

Why does the snake molt?

You see your snake molting but you don’t know why. Don’t worry, we’ll explain everything to you. Indeed, the skin of your snake creates a kind of scale placed on it. These scales serve to solidify and protect his body. In addition, a snake undergoes growth that takes place throughout its life. Growing up, he must break this scale placed on his skin to allow it to grow and will, therefore, create a new one.

The scale placed on the skin of the snake does not grow at the same time as its body, this is why it changes it while growing, as we ourselves, we change clothes while growing. Also, molts tend to be more frequent when the snake is juvenile and to space out as they age. However, even in older snakes more frequent molts can be observed but for other causes, especially in case of injuries.

How long does snake molt last?

Time to go through all the stages, we notice that the snake can take one to two weeks to molt. Indeed, if the very act of removing your skin is fast enough, the process of molting is quite long.

On average, it takes a period of 7 to 14 days between the first signs and the complete molt of the reptile. Depending on the species (corn snake, royal python, snake, viper, …) and the environment, this period may, therefore, be more or less short.

Molting stages

How does a snake molt take place? The molt in your snake has different stages as important as each other. First of all, you can see the entry into the moulting period by the behavior of your snake.

  • refusal to eat . But be careful because this symptom can hide other symptoms, that’s why you have to be vigilant.
  • change in color at the level of the belly of your snake towards the pink tones shows an entry in molt.
  • Subsequently, the colors of your snake will tarnish with eyes that look white, as if a film was installed on their eyes. For information, during this period your snake is particularly fearful.
  • During the period when you see its colors fading, your snake secretes a liquid called “exuvial”. This exuvial liquid will allow it to take off its old skin from the new one.
  • Finally, the snake recovers its color close to that of origin and its eyes find a color in black tones. This phase shows that your snake will soon remove its old skin.
  • To remove its exuvia ( its old skin ), the snake begins by rubbing on rough surfaces at the level of its lips. Having created an opening, the snake will continue to rub to slide its old skin upside down and finally end up removing it entirely. The snake is then left with its new skin. 

How to act in the event of bad molt?

In some cases, the snake may have trouble molting. So, in captivity, we can try to help him so that this essential period in his life happens comfortably. First, you need to make sure your snake’s terrarium is at the right temperature day and night, depending on the species you have. You should know that humidity is conducive to molting.

To help the snake molt, you can also provide it with a basin of warm water in which it can immerse itself to facilitate the loss of its exuviae. Thanks to this bathing, her skin will be more flexible and then more easily removable. Bathing your snake in the event of bad molting allows it to easily get rid of its old skin.

Another tip: you can gently rub the lips with your finger to crack the skin. However, if there are just a few bits of skin left on his body, you can also bathe him in lukewarm water for a while and then rub very gently with your finger to remove the residue. Because it can be useful to remove the remains of the snake’s skin in the event of a molting problem.

In the event that skin residues persist on the eye, there are different methods such as administering physiological saline several times or still very gently rub the eyes with a damp cloth. Discover our tips for handling your snake and remember that handling is generally not recommended during the molting period.

To conclude, obviously you have to put everything in place so that your snake has the best possible molt (stone, humidity, branch …). Nevertheless, a snake must be able to molt on its own, even if sometimes some problems can happen. Your snake’s environment must resemble its natural environment, and this is more important during the molting period.

For information, never pull the skin of your snake, this could be very harmful because this step is intrinsically linked to the molting process and to the good development of your reptile. Once your domestic snake has molted, you can keep this snake molt. Some passionate terrariophiles claim that this skin brings good luck.

We hope you have learned more about this essential and fascinating phase in your snake’s life.

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