The Shedding Process

shaun9628

Not so new Member
Great Thread...Thanks.
I have had a diamond python for about 4 to 5 weeks now.(unplanned addition).Enclosure had no heat source.Have installed a heat lamp.Have had the snake probed,it is a male and over 1 year old and is under weight.He has had 3 fuzzy rats in the last 4 to five weeks the last being yesterday.Upon checking his enclosure this morning to raise the temp I found him in the shedding process.I will attemp to attach a couple of photos.Any comments welcome.IMG_20200823_160627re.jpgIMG_20200824_114741re.jpg
 
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Colin41

Not so new Member
I have just read your post and found it very informative. Great photos and nice looking snakes.
Thank you.
Post automatically merged:

I have a 4 month old Stimsons which shed one long piece in the first week of March. On the 12th April, she shed again, but this time I noticed that the small piece with the eye and head skin in the water bowl and the rest in one single piece in a corner. I feed her a 'Pinky' each Wednesday. On the 26th March she was 30cms long, and then on the 12th April, I measured her again and she was 31.8cms. Is that a normal length growth for that period? For several days before she shed this last time, she never came out of her hide, which made me a little concerned as I did not know she was in 'shed' mode.
 
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Introduction

Not so long ago on a reasonable sunny autumn day I took my carpet pythons out for some sunshine, a bit of supervised exercise, and an attempt to “train” them to do their business outside. One adult snake is a neutral grey in colour, with a paper white belly. But on this particular day he was looking a little different. “Huh, you’re looking a little brown today,” I mutter to myself as I get a good look at him in the sun. “If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were coming up to a shed again . . .”

It turns out he was coming up to a shed. At first I thought this was odd as he had just shed only a month ago. Perhaps I was feeding him too much. Or perhaps he was going through a growth spurt after his lengthy stint with DpAW. I also noticed that one of my other snakes, this one a hatchling, was looking a little dull and brown as well. So both snakes were coming up to a shed.

Since I like to take photos and because of the influx of new keepers posting, not knowing or having little knowledge on this inevitable and fascinating behaviour in snakes, I thought it would be worth documenting and detailing some of the common indicators of a snake in the shedding cycle. This post only covers carpet pythons, however. South-west Carpet Pythons to be specific. Signs of a snake undergoing the shed cycle may be slightly different in different species. But many behaviours and physical signs are universal in all snakes, such as the blue or cloudy eyes for example. I hope this post will prove useful and informative to many reptile keepers.

The Shedding Cycle

All animals shed their skin as they grow. Humans, for example, continually shed their skin as tiny flakes. Most lizards shed their skin in parts over a couple of days or weeks, but not all. Some may even eat their skins. Snakes do not eat their skins and, if under appropriate conditions, shed their skin in one piece. This process is known as ecdysis. It may last for 1-2 weeks, depending on the animal.

  • During this time it is not uncommon for the snake to remain in their hide until the cycle is complete.

  • Most snakes will also stop eating.

  • It is not recommended to feed the snake, even if it will accept food.

  • If you were expecting your snake to defecate at this time, then it is highly likely that it will not do so until after the cycle is complete.

  • Snakes generally become more defensive than is typical throughout the cycle. For this reason, it is recommended not to handle the snake. They feel vulnerable, particularly during the stage in which their eyes have become cloudy.

  • At this time rough handling may damage the old or new skin.

Stage One: Dark, Dull Skin with a Pink Belly
Day: 1-3


At this stage the snake will look slightly duller and darker than usual. Their bellies may take on a pink tone. Some new keepers may mistake this as a burn or scale rot. Don’t worry, chances are it’s not. Belly patterning may become pale or opaque. Sometimes the eyes will become dull. This stage varies from snake to snake and sometimes the signs may not be obvious. With my two grey snakes they became a slight dull brown in colour.

View attachment 320613
Here Grey is looking a little dull and brown. Note that the eyes are a little dull as well.

View attachment 320614
Note the pink belly and the opaque effect of the belly patterning.

View attachment 320615
This picture clearly shows the pink tinge of the belly. Normally the belly is as white as the post in the background.

View attachment 320617
Pixie going a dull brown colour. Pixie's shed cycle happily coincided with an upgrade in tub size.

View attachment 320618
Note that the pattern on the belly has gone opaque, and yet there is no pink tone for Pixie. However, the prevalent blue tone on Pixie's belly is not as obvious anymore.

Stage Two: Cloudy, Opaque, Milky, or Blue eyes
Day: 3-8


This stage is perhaps the most recognisable. The eyes become cloudy or blue, and the snake’s skin in general has become extremely dull. The new skin has formed beneath the old skin. A milky fluid is secreted between the skins to separate them, making the old skin easier to remove. New keepers may mistake the cloudy eyes as a sign that their snake is going or has gone blind. While their vision has become impaired, it is only temporary. Because of this, the snake is feeling at its most vulnerable and may strike defensively. It’s recommended not to handle at this time and to leave the snake alone.

View attachment 320619
Perhaps one of the most well known signs of a snake in shed; the blue/cloudy eyes.

View attachment 320620
Another example under different lighting.

View attachment 320621
Note the blue, dull tinge to Pixie's eyes. Not quite as obvious in comparison with Grey.

Stage Three: Clearing Up
Day: 7-10


The eyes and skin now begin to clear up. It may look as though your snake is not going to shed after all, save that the skin might still be a little dull. Although carpet pythons are known to be relatively dark compared to their original colour. At this stage new keepers may begin to wonder if the shed has already happened and that the snake has perhaps eaten the skin. They have not. The snake will soon be ready to shed the old skin.

View attachment 320622
Grey's eyes have cleared up but his skin still looks darker than usual.

View attachment 320624
Note the belly patterning has cleared up. Also, the belly is now as white as the post in the right side of the background.

View attachment 320625
Pixie's eyes have cleared up, but the skin still looks fairly dark.

Stage Four: Shedding of the Old Skin
Day: 9-14


This is the final stage where the snake commences the “sloughing” of its old skin. The process can be quick, lasting from 30 minutes to an hour. It may be a while before the keeper witnesses the act. It’s a fascinating event. The snake begins by rubbing its nose or chin on any rough surface it can find to create a break in the old skin. This can include anything from the interior of the enclosure, to furnishings such as rocks or branches, even using its own body to slowly peel back its skin, inside out, and ending at the tail tip. If conditions are appropriate the skin should come off in one piece. Sometimes, however, the skin may tear if the snake passes over it or if it becomes snagged on rough surfaces. If you find the skin in two pieces, and there’s no retained shed on the snake, there’s nothing to worry about.

View attachment 320626
Grey beginning to shed. It starts at the tip of the nose.

View attachment 320627
The old skin is peeling back like a long sock off a leg. Note the colour difference between the old and new skins.

View attachment 320628
Pixie beginning to shed. Once again, it starts at the nose. Note that both the eye caps have come off with the old skin. It's very important to make sure that they come off.

View attachment 320629
Note the colour difference between the old and new skins.

The Shed Cycle is Complete

Your snake is now looking particularly bright and colourful. Now would be a good time to take photos. But first there are a few things to look out for. You need to make sure that the snake has shed properly. Pay close attention to the eyes, vent and tail tip of the snake. It’s very important that there’s no retained shed in these areas. Are there any signs of dysecdysis (abnormal or incomplete shedding of the skin)? There are a few methods that can help with this, however, I'm not going to delve into it here as this post is about the shedding process, and not dysecdysis.

I was originally going to post a few more pictures but it seems that I have reached my limit. If anyone feels that I have left something out, or if I've provided incorrect information please mention it below.
Hi my children’s python has shed about 6 days ago his eyes were fine it all came off but now his eyes have turned rough looking on the outside I have included a photo I’m very worried is he going to do another shed so quickly ?
Thanks for reading some experienced advice An opinion would be so helpful.
 

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Jonesy1103

Donator
Donator
Hi my children’s python has shed about 6 days ago his eyes were fine it all came off but now his eyes have turned rough looking on the outside I have included a photo I’m very worried is he going to do another shed so quickly ?
Thanks for reading some experienced advice An opinion would be so helpful.
Hi
I have a Children's myself but I havent been in this very long. I think I have seen this before (see further down) I have also done a lot of reading:

For repeated sheds (back to back shedding) check for any signs of skin disorders or parasites like mites. Have a good close visual and also if your snake has been submerging itself a lot, it may have had mites.

However I cant tell from the photo if thats a shed coming on or something else. Are temps and humidity all good?

And now that I remember it, my Childrens eye went blurry a couple of days after the last shed. It cleared up within about 4 days after. I dunno if its something to do with the new eye scale stretching into shape or something. But one day I noticed it (like your photo) and then a few days later, I sorta noticed it was gone.

For now I would check skin all over, without causing too much distress, then check temps and humidity, then wait a few days. Reckon it looks like what mine did last time.

Cheers
 
Hi
I have a Children's myself but I havent been in this very long. I think I have seen this before (see further down) I have also done a lot of reading:

For repeated sheds (back to back shedding) check for any signs of skin disorders or parasites like mites. Have a good close visual and also if your snake has been submerging itself a lot, it may have had mites.

However I cant tell from the photo if thats a shed coming on or something else. Are temps and humidity all good?

And now that I remember it, my Childrens eye went blurry a couple of days after the last shed. It cleared up within about 4 days after. I dunno if its something to do with the new eye scale stretching into shape or something. But one day I noticed it (like your photo) and then a few days later, I sorta noticed it was gone.

For now I would check skin all over, without causing too much distress, then check temps and humidity, then wait a few days. Reckon it looks like what mine did last time.

Cheers
Thank you so much he shed in 15th April that’s when I realised his eyes were funny.
Post automatically merged:

Thank you so much he shed in 15th April that’s when I realised his eyes were funny.
I’ll keep humidity up more
 

CF Constrictor

Well-Known Member
In my opinion that would be to high. I keep mine at around 30 - 35% and never have any issues shedding old skin. Constant high humidity can cause respiratory infection and other problems and vets are expensive. Good luck.
 
In my opinion that would be to high. I keep mine at around 30 - 35% and never have any issues shedding old skin. Constant high humidity can cause respiratory infection and other problems and vets are expensive.
In my opinion that would be to high. I keep mine at around 30 - 35% and never have any issues shedding old skin. Constant high humidity can cause respiratory infection and other problems and vets are expensive. Good luck.
thank you for your advice and reply
Post automatically merged:

Hi
I have a Children's myself but I havent been in this very long. I think I have seen this before (see further down) I have also done a lot of reading:

For repeated sheds (back to back shedding) check for any signs of skin disorders or parasites like mites. Have a good close visual and also if your snake has been submerging itself a lot, it may have had mites.

However I cant tell from the photo if thats a shed coming on or something else. Are temps and humidity all good?

And now that I remember it, my Childrens eye went blurry a couple of days after the last shed. It cleared up within about 4 days after. I dunno if its something to do with the new eye scale stretching into shape or something. But one day I noticed it (like your photo) and then a few days later, I sorta noticed it was gone.

For now I would check skin all over, without causing too much distress, then check temps and humidity, then wait a few days. Reckon it looks like what mine did last time.

Cheers
Hey I was due to go to the vet and one hour before I was about to go because of the eyes my children’s python had were dry even after he had a perfect shed this is what happened and thank god he shed and his eyes cleared after 4 weeks one hour before my appointment monty decided to fix the problem himself lol photos bellow
Post automatically merged:

Hi my children’s python has shed about 6 days ago his eyes were fine it all came off but now his eyes have turned rough looking on the outside I have included a photo I’m very worried is he going to do another shed so quickly ?
Thanks for reading some experienced advice An opinion would be so helpful.
The it just happened to me his eyes are all normal now and it was an hour before I was due to go to the vet he did this...(photos below) back to back shed
 

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Jonesy1103

Donator
Donator
Post automatically merged:


Hey I was due to go to the vet and one hour before I was about to go because of the eyes my children’s python had were dry even after he had a perfect shed this is what happened and thank god he shed and his eyes cleared after 4 weeks one hour before my appointment monty decided to fix the problem himself lol photos bellow
Post automatically merged:


The it just happened to me his eyes are all normal now and it was an hour before I was due to go to the vet he did this...(photos below) back to back shed
Good news! Not quite what happened with mine but I am glad it cleared up. Good looking snake
 
Introduction

Not so long ago on a reasonable sunny autumn day I took my carpet pythons out for some sunshine, a bit of supervised exercise, and an attempt to “train” them to do their business outside. One adult snake is a neutral grey in colour, with a paper white belly. But on this particular day he was looking a little different. “Huh, you’re looking a little brown today,” I mutter to myself as I get a good look at him in the sun. “If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were coming up to a shed again . . .”

It turns out he was coming up to a shed. At first I thought this was odd as he had just shed only a month ago. Perhaps I was feeding him too much. Or perhaps he was going through a growth spurt after his lengthy stint with DpAW. I also noticed that one of my other snakes, this one a hatchling, was looking a little dull and brown as well. So both snakes were coming up to a shed.

Since I like to take photos and because of the influx of new keepers posting, not knowing or having little knowledge on this inevitable and fascinating behaviour in snakes, I thought it would be worth documenting and detailing some of the common indicators of a snake in the shedding cycle. This post only covers carpet pythons, however. South-west Carpet Pythons to be specific. Signs of a snake undergoing the shed cycle may be slightly different in different species. But many behaviours and physical signs are universal in all snakes, such as the blue or cloudy eyes for example. I hope this post will prove useful and informative to many reptile keepers.

The Shedding Cycle

All animals shed their skin as they grow. Humans, for example, continually shed their skin as tiny flakes. Most lizards shed their skin in parts over a couple of days or weeks, but not all. Some may even eat their skins. Snakes do not eat their skins and, if under appropriate conditions, shed their skin in one piece. This process is known as ecdysis. It may last for 1-2 weeks, depending on the animal.

  • During this time it is not uncommon for the snake to remain in their hide until the cycle is complete.

  • Most snakes will also stop eating.

  • It is not recommended to feed the snake, even if it will accept food.

  • If you were expecting your snake to defecate at this time, then it is highly likely that it will not do so until after the cycle is complete.

  • Snakes generally become more defensive than is typical throughout the cycle. For this reason, it is recommended not to handle the snake. They feel vulnerable, particularly during the stage in which their eyes have become cloudy.

  • At this time rough handling may damage the old or new skin.

Stage One: Dark, Dull Skin with a Pink Belly
Day: 1-3


At this stage the snake will look slightly duller and darker than usual. Their bellies may take on a pink tone. Some new keepers may mistake this as a burn or scale rot. Don’t worry, chances are it’s not. Belly patterning may become pale or opaque. Sometimes the eyes will become dull. This stage varies from snake to snake and sometimes the signs may not be obvious. With my two grey snakes they became a slight dull brown in colour.

View attachment 320613
Here Grey is looking a little dull and brown. Note that the eyes are a little dull as well.

View attachment 320614
Note the pink belly and the opaque effect of the belly patterning.

View attachment 320615
This picture clearly shows the pink tinge of the belly. Normally the belly is as white as the post in the background.

View attachment 320617
Pixie going a dull brown colour. Pixie's shed cycle happily coincided with an upgrade in tub size.

View attachment 320618
Note that the pattern on the belly has gone opaque, and yet there is no pink tone for Pixie. However, the prevalent blue tone on Pixie's belly is not as obvious anymore.

Stage Two: Cloudy, Opaque, Milky, or Blue eyes
Day: 3-8


This stage is perhaps the most recognisable. The eyes become cloudy or blue, and the snake’s skin in general has become extremely dull. The new skin has formed beneath the old skin. A milky fluid is secreted between the skins to separate them, making the old skin easier to remove. New keepers may mistake the cloudy eyes as a sign that their snake is going or has gone blind. While their vision has become impaired, it is only temporary. Because of this, the snake is feeling at its most vulnerable and may strike defensively. It’s recommended not to handle at this time and to leave the snake alone.

View attachment 320619
Perhaps one of the most well known signs of a snake in shed; the blue/cloudy eyes.

View attachment 320620
Another example under different lighting.

View attachment 320621
Note the blue, dull tinge to Pixie's eyes. Not quite as obvious in comparison with Grey.

Stage Three: Clearing Up
Day: 7-10


The eyes and skin now begin to clear up. It may look as though your snake is not going to shed after all, save that the skin might still be a little dull. Although carpet pythons are known to be relatively dark compared to their original colour. At this stage new keepers may begin to wonder if the shed has already happened and that the snake has perhaps eaten the skin. They have not. The snake will soon be ready to shed the old skin.

View attachment 320622
Grey's eyes have cleared up but his skin still looks darker than usual.

View attachment 320624
Note the belly patterning has cleared up. Also, the belly is now as white as the post in the right side of the background.

View attachment 320625
Pixie's eyes have cleared up, but the skin still looks fairly dark.

Stage Four: Shedding of the Old Skin
Day: 9-14


This is the final stage where the snake commences the “sloughing” of its old skin. The process can be quick, lasting from 30 minutes to an hour. It may be a while before the keeper witnesses the act. It’s a fascinating event. The snake begins by rubbing its nose or chin on any rough surface it can find to create a break in the old skin. This can include anything from the interior of the enclosure, to furnishings such as rocks or branches, even using its own body to slowly peel back its skin, inside out, and ending at the tail tip. If conditions are appropriate the skin should come off in one piece. Sometimes, however, the skin may tear if the snake passes over it or if it becomes snagged on rough surfaces. If you find the skin in two pieces, and there’s no retained shed on the snake, there’s nothing to worry about.

View attachment 320626
Grey beginning to shed. It starts at the tip of the nose.

View attachment 320627
The old skin is peeling back like a long sock off a leg. Note the colour difference between the old and new skins.

View attachment 320628
Pixie beginning to shed. Once again, it starts at the nose. Note that both the eye caps have come off with the old skin. It's very important to make sure that they come off.

View attachment 320629
Note the colour difference between the old and new skins.

The Shed Cycle is Complete

Your snake is now looking particularly bright and colourful. Now would be a good time to take photos. But first there are a few things to look out for. You need to make sure that the snake has shed properly. Pay close attention to the eyes, vent and tail tip of the snake. It’s very important that there’s no retained shed in these areas. Are there any signs of dysecdysis (abnormal or incomplete shedding of the skin)? There are a few methods that can help with this, however, I'm not going to delve into it here as this post is about the shedding process, and not dysecdysis.

I was originally going to post a few more pictures but it seems that I have reached my limit. If anyone feels that I have left something out, or if I've provided incorrect information please mention it below.
Brilliant explanation and educational for new and not so new owners of a snake wondering how it all happens .cuts the stress and worry by reading this post.
 
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