Your snake or lizard will shed its skin fairly regularly.   A hatchling will shed more frequently than an older snake.   Your pet will need to be left along at this time, as they can become somewhat unsociable.

In the wild, mostly they hide away when a shed is imminent, as they become almost blind.   This is because an oily substance is secreted between the old and the new skins to make shedding easier.   It also protects the new skin.

You may notice that your reptile’s eyes are milky or white at this time – when you notice this, the sloughing is due within about a week.  You can see the snake’s eyes are going white in the image below.

Snake with milky eyes

Snake with milky eyes.

For some time prior to this, however, you may have noticed that your pet’s skin was becoming very dark and dull, and the animal would probably have become quite secretive, hiding in its den for much of the time.

When you notice this happening, please don’t handle your pet much, if at all, as you may damage the new skin by doing so.   This can also make a shed or slough incomplete.    Incomplete sloughs may cause health problems in reptiles, especially if the eye scale fails to come away, thus leaving the reptile blind.

If your reptile has difficulty shedding, then there are a couple of easy home remedies you can try, but if you are in any doubt, or become worried, please see your vet at once.

  • Get a clean pillowslip, dampen it with warm water, and leave the snake inside it for about 30 minutes.
  • Put the snake in a container of warm water for approximately 15 minutes.   This will soak the skin and make it softer.   Make sure the snake can get its head out of the water and doesn’t become tired holding its head up.

Both of these will soften the skin, and when the reptile is placed back into its cage, it should be able to rub agains something rough. This should assist the slough.

If most of the skin is gone, but there are only pieces left on the snake, use either of the above methods, and then try to gently peel the skin off yourself.   If the animal is in pain, or shows discomfort, stop immediately, and see your vet.

Hopefully, you will never have problems.  A healthy and happy snake is well able to take care of itself.