Wondering Why?

Why Do Snakes Molt?

Why Do Snakes Molt?

Snakes belong to the reptile family and just like reptiles, snake undergo shedding of outer skin called molting. The snakes ‘ body coverings are scales that serve as protection, aid in their movement, help to retain moisture, and use to startle predators.

Snakes change their skin periodically to have a new one. The worn out skin need to be replaced to allow the skin to grow. The scientific term for snake molting is ecdysis. It’ not only the snake that molts but also other insects such as lizards.

Snakes molt because that is part of their growth. Skin of the snake is different from other animals such dogs or cats. Mammals don’t shed their skin because the skin grows with them. For snakes, the skin does not grow. If the snake will grow longer and bigger, the skin will definitely break. It could not enlarge together with the snake so the skin just shed off and a new and fresh skin will grow.

Once the snake continues to grow, its skin will also shed and molt. Thus, a snake always changes its skin until it dies. However, younger snakes molt often because they grow fast. With older snakes, the molting process is experienced rarely because the growth is not that rapid.

Snakes also encounter problems when shedding their skin. Sometimes the molting process is not completed so the skin will build up causing mass of skin to some parts of the body. Sometimes, the skin when not shed off especially around the eyes can cause blindness.

Molting is an important process a snake undergoes. It is part of their adaptation with their environment. It is also one way to survive. It is surprising how nature had its own way to adjust the changes in the environment. In the case of snakes, they also had their mechanism to grow healthy and to stay alive.


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