Can you tell the type of snake by its shed skin

Can You Tell The Type Of Snake By Its Shed Skin?

Since experts can easily recognize a snake by looking at it, it is a logical question to wonder if you can identify the type of snake based on its shed skin. While it is possible, this is much more complicated than identification with the entire serpent present. Even so, experts, particularly herpetologists, should be able to identify the snake. Because of their vast knowledge, they are typically able to recognize the snake based on the skin, although this is not always the case.

How To Identify The Snake

An expert would identify the snake that shed a skin the same way they would identify the snake if it was present: the scales. The scale pattern is the biggest clue as to what type of snake it is and experts will pay the most attention to the head, as this is almost as identifiable as a fingerprint – for those who can recognize the pattern. Professionals will also look for other hints as to what type of snake it can be, such as patterns on the body scale, the length of the shed skin, and the diameter of it. Unfortunately, shed skins don’t have color, which makes it very challenging to identify the exact snake, especially in the case of two species which are similar.

Can You Identify The Snake Yourself?

With some patience, it is possible to identify the snake yourself, but you will be in for a challenge. You will also need to have a thorough guide to snakes handy. Because of the difficulty involved, it is smarter to just have a professional ID the snake for you. If you want to do it yourself, however, start by paying attention to the length. The shed skin tends to seem much longer than the snake, but even so, you can eliminate a long list of potential snakes from your list based on its length.

After that, take a look at the girth of the shed skin. This will be your first step towards telling if the snake is dangerous. In many areas of the United States, non-venomous snakes are typically thin and long with venomous ones being thicker and shorter. Unfortunately, this rule isn’t always true so you will need to look at other factors to figure out how much care to have around the snake. From there, you can check for keeled scales or smooth scales. Keeled scales mean there is a ridge that runs along the center of each and it can help with identification. After this, try to spot obvious patterns on the skin. If you are ready to give up, consult an expert.

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