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Jessi checks in on Pinecone the bullsnake to make sure she shed well and is looking healthy now that she's been at Animal Wonders for a few months.

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Hello and welcome back to our Tuesday videos where things are a little more casual.  We're in the reptile room and I wanted to check in on one of our snakes, because I passed by a minute ago and noticed she just recently shed.  


First, I'm going to get my spatula and then we're going to see if she wants to come and join us.  Hello, sweetheart.  Do you wanna come and say hi?  Nice and slow.  Good girl.  This is Pinecone and she's a bullsnake or a gopher snake.  We don't know her exact origin, so it's challenging to tell what subspecies she is.  Let's check the shed out.  (?~0:55) so let's bring this back out.  

So the first thing I notice is that the tail is a little bit compromised just on the shed so I want to look at her tail and make sure that all of it is off and it is.  She has no retained shed on her tail.  Now the reason I wanted to check her shed very closely is because she came to us when she was blue and she looked pretty dehydrated and so when I set up her enclosure, I gave her a really damp half so that she could shed a lot easier, so if they get too dry, it's hard for them to shed, and she had a pretty good shed that first time.  I just wanna make sure that she's continuing on that healthy streak.

I just think it's so fascinating how snakes shed their scales.  Instead of it just like, flaking off in little bits like ours does, they shed in one huge piece.  It's so weird!  So, this is how it works.  Snake skin is basically two layers: the dermis and the epidermis.  The dermis is made of densely knit tissues and the epidermis covers that, and the outermost layer of the epidermis is covered in dead cells, which are made of hard keratin, which we call scales, and those scales provide protection for the living tissue below.  So when a snake is about to shed, the old scales that are on the top, they start to separate from the epidermis and fluid from the lymph system fills the space between them.

This process can take about a week and it causes them to look a little foggy or blueish white, which is why you can call a snake that's in the process of shedding, 'blue'.  As the process goes on, the layers continue to separate and the connecting materials slowly start to break down.  Then the lymph fluid is reabsorbed and the new outer layer of the epidermis dries out and becomes basically waterproof and completely separated from the old scales.  At this point, the snake could start to look dull or some of the scales could be sticking up or looking a little rough, and finally, the snake will use whatever they can find to rub those old scales off.  They usually start by rubbing their mouth on a branch or a rock and slowly peeling them back and off, revealing those shiny scales underneath, and Pinecone is super shiny right now.  Look how the light shines off of those brand new scales!  My goodness, you're beautiful, you know that?

Well, it looks like she is very healthy.  The shed looks nice and she looks really nice, so shiny.  I think it's time to let her go on back home.

Thank you for watching.  I hope you enjoyed hanging out with Pinecone and learning a little bit more about snake shedding with me.  If you want more animals in your life, be sure to subscribe and keep an eye out for both our videos each week.  Thanks so much and bye!