Snake skin ID

(6 January 2017) Snake oil is not my thing, snake skin is. The complete outer layer of skin is shed in one layer, because the scales are not discrete – as in fish – but extensions of the epidermis. The old skin breaks near the mouth and the snake wriggles out aided by rubbing against rough surfaces, leaving the old skin inside out. By moulting, once to four times per annum, the old and worn skin is replaced; it also helps to get rid of mites and ticks.
The arrangement of scales is unique for each species. A complete skin is therefore enough to make an accurate identification of the snake. The people who found this skin thought it might have been a young taipan or eastern brown. It wasn’t: it was a mature marsh snake. If you have an intact skin and like it to be identified, give me a call (0473818908) and I will ID it for you. You can also give it a go yourself at http://www.arod.com.au/arod/scale/.

Marsh snake

The booklet “The snakes of Tamborine Mountain” (sold at Landcare Piccabeen bookshop) explains how to identify a living marsh snake: “The marsh snake is unique because of two horizontal, very light, lines over the head”. But those cannot be seen on a moulted skin anymore.

Technique
Nothing to be noted about the photography. Straightforward process, could have been done with fully automatic settings. I like the effect of shades and transparency of the skin.