Saturday, November 24, 2012

Ecdysis – Snake shed scale

Every year during the rainy season, we find snakes in the open ground adjacent to our apartment and the only thing preserve either of us was the compound wall; but this time one of a snakes entered our parking lot and slithering here and there before thrown other side of the compound wall by our watchman. This was the first I saw a snake come across the compound wall, whereas I have heard my neighbors making noise about snake couple of times early, and I believe it could have come through the open gate at the entrance since there’s less chance for them climbing the plain vertical wall.

From the time we shifted to apartment in 2005, the open ground has been left unchanged with growth of wild vegetation and survival of few trees; and except threaten of snakes, it has the advantage of many esp. deriving different species of birds and insects and giving a pleasant stay environment of calm and less pollution. A year back to back too, we sighted a rat snake staying sometime along the other side of our compound wall and among the debris making its bedroom by wrapping an old bed left by someone (check the photos here).
Snake Attire
(click pictures for enlarge to view the snake scale near)
Two days later to Deepavli, my mom found a shed snake skin or scale on the open ground along with the neighbors, and few meters from our house the snake had molted its entire scale stretching few meters in length. Some said it’s a cobra scale and it must shed during the new moon occasion but being uncertain, I compared the photos which mom captured for me, with Google images, to ensure the species.

I also learn that the process of shedding scale in snakes, which according to scientific term, known as Ecdysis (strip off in Ancient Greek), or molting or sloughing in normal usage is shedding of the complete outer layer of the skin in one layer, which is a repeated process periodically throughout a snake’s life. A snake is suppose to shed its skin once or twice a year, whereas the younger once which still growing shed up to four times a year and many a time the skin peels backward over the body from head to tail, in one piece like an old sock.

Snake Skin
It’s said that the snake stops eating and often hides or moves to a safe place before shedding the skin; the snake wriggles out aided by rubbing against rough surfaces is demonstrated through my above pictures. The discarded skin gives a perfect imprint of the scale pattern and it is possible to identify the snake as this discard is reasonably complete and intact. 

14 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

i love finding their shed skins intact. although it is sometimes scary knowing how large the poisonous ones we have nearby are.

ladyfi said...

That is an awesome snake skin!

Kalyan said...

This is one creature I dread the most.

Indrani Ghose said...

That is quite scary.

Neal said...

Interesting. I very seldom fin a skin intact like that one appears to be. I would loved to have seen the process of shedding that skin.

SG said...

Nicely written. Can you tell me why they shed their skin in the first place? Just curious.

Renu said...

I have lived in 2 places where snakes were in plenty and still I am very scared of them..

Rakesh Vanamali said...

Ah! Ah! Scary stuff :-O

Ponniyinselvan said...

jeevan,
take caution and ask mom also to be cautious.So many details about snakes.Leart a lot.
karthik+amma

Lakshmi said...

Interesting but be careful..I am very fascinated by snakes

Krishna said...

nice post... snake skin also...

thanks

Destination Infinity said...

OMG. Looks like large snakes! I have seen a couple of water snakes and my friends claimed to have seen a green snake in the empty grounds of our flats, when young. But these days, I don't find any snakes. Fortunately! :)

Destination Infinity

eden said...

Nice post. Snakes scare me.I don't like them.

Devilish Angel said...

I am scared of it...