Identifying snake species based on skin shedding’s

Recently we received a call from a member of our community who had found a snake skin in their spare bedroom. Concerned that they couldn’t find the snake’s whereabouts, we got them to bring in the skin so we could identify it before deciding on the next course of action.

The easiest method of identify a snake species based on its skin alone is by counting scales. Firstly, have a look at how long the snake is and work out roughly where the middle of its body would be. From here we can simply count the scales around the skin. Its always a good idea to mark each scale as you go around, marking each scale with a dot to help keep track of where you are up to.

The client was concerned due to the colouring of the skin that it could be an Eastern Brown snakes (Pseudonaja Textilis) however we know that the Eastern Brown has 17 mid body scale rows. Already just by looking as the skin we can tell that there is more than 17 so we can safety rule out it belonging to a brown.

This particular skin, we can distinguish its species based on two features. Firstly, looking at the amount of scale rows, we can tell that this belongs to a type of python. Here in Roma, Queensland we don’t have too many different types of pythons which helps in narrowing in down further. Secondly, based on the diamond patterning on the skin we can say with great certainty that this skin belonged to a Carpet Python (Morelia Spilota).

Thankfully the snake was eventually found and safety relocated, however just knowing that it was a non-venomous species put the client at ease.

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