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The Copperhead racer

Elaphe radiata is the latin name for this slender snake.

This one was found "in the blue...which means that it is about to shed its skin.

so why do they do this? well, pretty much all animals shed their skin. Humans actually make and get rid of new skin all the time as it floats away in very small flakes (or big ones if you have sunburn!) Snakes, and some other reptiles, will often shed all at once, and the reason for this is to replace worn out or damaged skin. I have kept snakes that have been injured and after 2-3 sheds there is little scarring left, only nice new scales. As always, find out more about our local HK snake species at

When a snake gets ready to shed, its eyes turn a milky colour, like in these photographs. This is because a new layer of skin forms over the eyes, too. It can’t see very well, and snakes can be a bit more defensive when they are in the blue because of this.

The snake will wriggle out of the outer layer of skin, scraping agains rough objects like bark. In a snake’s shedded skin, we can see all the details of the original skin, its scales and even its eyeball cover, like in the image below.

and here is one fully fit and raring to go....

Free download of The Guide to Nature Guides of Hong Kong.

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