A Burmese python at Drusillas has shed his skin measuring an impressive 18ft.
Zoo keepers were impressed to find the enormous shedded snake skin in Basil’s enclosure when completing their morning checks at the zoo.
Sophie, head keeper, said “Basil is a big snake but he is still growing. He eats around six to seven rats a feed and is fed around every two weeks so he sheds his skin to ‘refresh’ and allow him to keep growing.
“When a snake grows, its outer skin layer called epidermis does not grow or get bigger with it.
“Hence, the snake sheds its epidermis periodically to allow further growth of its body. He sheds his skin around once a month but this time it was in one piece and was particularly impressive.”
Basil came to Drusillas Park in 1990 and was already a big snake when he arrived. Although Keepers don’t know his exact age, they think he is around 40 to 50 years old.
Sophie added, “It wouldn’t take long for Basil to shed his entire skin – probably only around a few hours.
“He would have spent a few days before building up to shed. His eyes would have gone cloudy and he would have been a bit bad tempered as he would be feeling vulnerable due to poor vision. Physically his skin would have felt rougher too.”
Basil can be seen in his enclosure at the beginning of the zoo route at Drusillas Park.