Does a Lizard Shed its Skin?

Most people know that a snake sheds its skin, but does a lizard shed its skin?

A lizard is a reptile. Reptiles include snakes, lizards, crocodiles, alligators, caimans, turtles, tortoises, and terrapins. Reptiles lay soft-shelled eggs on land.

The Balkan Slow Worm (Pseudopus apodus) is also a reptile. It is not a worm and it is not a snake. It is a legless lizard. It actually has small (almost invisible), undeveloped rear legs, but it does not use its legs for locomotion. It is not a snake because it has eyelids (snakes do not have eyelids). It has a long tail. It is also known as the Pallas’s Glass Lizard, the European Glass Lizard, the Sheltopusik, or the Giant Russian Legless Lizard.

Balkan Slow Worm

Lizards, and Balkan Slow Worms, shed their skin as they grow. 

As it grows, the lizard produces new skin, and the old skin migrates outwards to the surface. The old skin then becomes dull (it loses its shiny appearance) and opaque and drops off. 

Lizards shed their skin in pieces and not the whole length of its body. The duration between sheddings depends on how quickly it grows, but usually it is every two weeks.  

Shedding skin is called ecdysis.  

Balkan Slow Worm
Balkan Slow Worm

Location of photographs: Paris Jardin du Plantes Zoo, France

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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