Ecdysis – Shedding Skin

Recently I came upon a lizard basking in the sunshine upon a rock; it was shedding its skin. It’s odd to describe the moment as one invading the privacy of another … but that’s what it felt like.

As I proceeded to take its picture it hid away under a rock.
01 green lizard shedding skinEcdysis is the term used to describe the shedding of the outer layer of skin in lizards, snakes and certain other animals.

Lizards grow continuously throughout their lives, but their skin doesn’t grow to accommodate their changing size. As they grow, they must shed their skin regularly to allow for proper growth.

I read that all lizards shed their skin in patches/pieces, rather than in one piece like a snake. After the lizard actually starts shedding, it should take no more than three weeks for all the old skin to come off. A lizard will rub its body against objects in their habitat to allow the top layer of old skin coming off in pieces. Lizards will also tear pieces off with their mouths, and in most cases eat the old skin.

Persons with pet lizards should not ever attempt to pull or tear off loose pieces of skin that aren’t coming off on their own since doing so can damage the partially formed keratinous scales that are growing underneath the old skin.

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