Snake Skin: Beauty...and Function
Banded or blotched, colorful or dull, snake skin can warn predators or serve as camouflage. The first defense against trauma and disease, snake skin also plays a part in movement. Belly scales catch on irregular ground surfaces and create enough traction for snakes to pull forward.
It's Dry, Not Slimy
Despite appearances, snakes are dry to the touch. That smooth sheen comes from keratin, the same protein that's in your fingernails. Keratin makes scales hard and shiny, and protects the skin beneath.
Crawling out of One's Skin
Starting at its head, a snake peels out of its old skin. The new skin accommodates the snake's growing body.
Squares link to animal fun facts.