Shedding Skin: A Blue Eyed Snake

Kym Kemp / Sunday, May 10, 2009 @ 9:52 a.m. / Daily Photo , Humboldt , photo , Uncategorized ,  wildlife

SNAKETemporary Blue Eyes

Frequent Photo

Have you ever seen a snake with blue eyes?

As the creature gets ready to shed, its skin loosens over the eye (and the rest of the body).  The shedding process makes the snake nearly blind and slows it down. This lasts 1 to 2 weeks and the snake can be  (understandably) aggressive during this time. The skin is usually duller than usual but underneath is fresh sensitive skin readying for its debut.

Most snakes shed 4-8 times per year. Just like teenagers outgrowing tennis shoes, younger snakes tend to go through the process more rapidly than older snakes. And those feeding well also shed more often.

When the skin comes off in one entire piece that indicates a healthy snake but scarring and malnutrition can cause the snake to shed in several pieces.


  • I think they mostly go by heat (the little nostrils are heat sensors) and smell (tongue), which means you shouldn’t get too confident that the snake doesn’t see you :)
    Awesome shot Kym. It looks like you took some risk or was the snake behind glass?
  • Interesting info, Kym. I didn’t realize they shed that often. He’s kind of creepy looking with those blue eyes!!
  • News to me! I knew they shed but not that often or that the skin over the eyes went too!

    Wow! Great shot!

    Talk about being re-newed!!
  • I don’t care what color eyes they have, any snake (other than the common garden variety) is something I don’t want to see with my own blue eyes!
  • Eeek - I’m outa here!
  • The eyes almost look like they have cataracts.
  • great shot! and i loved the info.
    saw my first snake of the year just now… a five foot gopher sunning in the middle of the road around a blind curve, so i stopped and got to pet him i bit as he moved to safety.
    your pic is so cute and i don’t care what the herpetophobes say.
  • a bit, not i bit
  • How did you manage to get this shot? I HATE snakes, so I don’t think I would have gotten too close!
  • I don’t hate snakes, but when I see one, my body starts, my heart stops, I jump flat footed five feet into the air. Four less heartbeats later, my feet come back to the ground, and I’m cool. “Oh… hey a snake!”
  • In response to olmanriver
    The gopher snakes I’ve moved off the road have tried to make me think they’re rattlesnakes, Coiling and striking, pretty aggressive. We used to make pets of them when I was a kid in LA but the ones up here seem meaner.
  • In response to Ben
    This gopher snake never got defensive or coiled and it moved slowly staying outstretched while i petted his tail as it slid under my hand. If it had spun back at me I would have fallen on my keister. Maybe it was just sluggish stretched out in the sun in the dirt road.
  • Living in Western Washington where there are no venomous snakes, I’ve gotten friendlier with them. Now I usually just say howdy to them. Unless I am someplace where they do have venomous snakes. I can’t say I’ve ever had a real fear of them, but I give the respect and distance when appropriate.
  • not one of your photos kim
  • I almost stepped on a pretty large king snake just the other day. They are so beautiful. I wish I could keep one for catching mice. They could be very useful.
  • In response to Bunny
    You are so lucky Bunny, the kings are my favorite… and they eat the rattlers as most country folk already know. I let a two footer run around inside the shirt i was wearing one day for fun, now that was a different thrill, but up h’yar in the backcountry we has to entertain ourselves as best we can.
  • In response to olmanriver
    I heard from a herpetologist at the Natural History Museum that King Snakes secrete a pheremone that repels rattlesnakes, so they’re great to have around your property. OMR, you might have noticed after that day that your torso was particularly untroubled by rattlers, am I right?

    The photo is a unique one, Kym. I’ve never seen the bicolor tongue before. With the foggy eye, it looks like unreal.
  • Why now that you mention it, I don’t recall any rattlers getting anywhere close to my torso after that! Thanks Kato for the explanation. Probably is true of a yard as well as a torso eh?
  • “Probably is true of a yard as well as a torso eh?”

    Like SO many things, OlMan.

    I’ve thought about raising King Snakes as a rattler prevention program, but now I’m thinking that anti-viper chemical they put out might have marketable potential for hikers and campers… spray it around your tent, rub it into your boots, keep venomous snakes away! There may be a down side for people like bluelaker, though, if the stuff also actually attracts other king snakes… hmm.
  • Here’s one for you, olman: some people pay for the freaky feeling you found for free.
  • In response to naturemyway
    a friend caught and held him for me.
  • In response to Ren

    Are you asking if this is my photo? Robin, a friend, caught and held the little guy and I took a couple photos.
  • In response to Kato
    Kevin says the bicolor is normal but I don’t remember it either.
  • In response to Kato
    Okay, I like snakes but….CREEPY!
  • In response to Kym
    thanks kato, very inspiring!…. i liked the one suggestion that people be certain to breath through their nose!
    of course when i get my slithering serpent “deep issue” massage biz going, i will have camera’s on the faces of the clients and make big bucks selling the clips to utube.

    but how do i ask a snake if they would like to work for me? i am only into consensual slithering.


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