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IN THE WORLD!
How can you tell what type of snake left behind a shed snake
skin? This is very difficult for non-experts. I have found that most non-herpetologists
have difficulty identifying a complete snake upon seeing it. But just the skin, it's even
harder to identify what kind of snake shed a particular skin. That's why I'm willing to do
it for you, for free. Just mail me the shed snake skin you have found, and I will identify it
for you, and call you back to tell you what type of snake it was.
The way an expert identifies a particular species of snake by examining the skin is of course to look at the scale pattern - each snake has a particular pattern of scales, particularly on the head, that is
kind of like a fingerprint for that species of snake. Other factors, especially size, diameter, and body scale patterns, also help in the identification. In some cases, the patterns from one snake to the
next are very similar, making exact identification difficult. It's a heck of a lot easier to tell when you see a whole snake, with its color pattern intact! As you've no doubt noticed, a shed snake skin
has no color - like shed human skin, it's just a thin, clearish, pale white. It almost never has any trace of pattern left in it. At the very least, it's easy to identify the sheddings of venomous snakes -
they are relatively rare in the US, and their body types are more distinct, their scale patterns more
As it is, it seems to me that more people see live snakes than they do find shed snake skins on their property or in their yard or house. People send me photos of snakes all the time for me to identify. But
practically no one sends me a photo of a snake skin. But as stated, if you want to mail me the skin, I will happily identify the snake for you for free.
What if you find a shed snake skin or two in your attic? I've actually seen this a few times in my career, and had customers with this exact case. Every time, it's a species of rat snake, such as the Yellow Rat Snake
or the Black Rat Snake, that has climbed into your attic because it smelled rats or mice living up there, and now it has a decent place to live and get food. In that case, snakes can live up there for a while, and
thus leave behind shed snake skins.
You may want to read my How to Identify a Snake
page for other identification tips.
As I've stated before, this site used to be owned by another guy, and his wording always amazes me. $25 for the first skin, and $10 for each additional skin, and then he mails back his findings! What a hoot! Look - if you actually
go to the trouble of mailing me a snake skin, I will identify it for free, and give you a phone call. But better yet, why not just email me a good photo of the skin? Email:
Anyway, here is what the previous guy used to say:
Shed Snake Skin Evaluation
Shed snake skin evaluations to determine if a shed snake skin is from a venomous North American snake. The pattern, type and configurations of scales of shed snake skins are as unique and distinctive as finger prints are from humans. If you have found an intact/complete shed snake skin and wish to know if it is from a venomous snake, then please use the following steps to get the skin to us for an evaluation.