Photographer Captures Striped Snake Shedding Skin in Japanese Rice Paddy

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Photographer Captures Striped Snake Shedding Skin in Japanese Rice Paddy

A nature photographer in Shiga Prefecture, Japan, captured rare images of a striped snake molting in a rice paddy. This observation is uncommon even among snakes in captivity.

As the weather warms, snakes emerge from hibernation and shed their skin as they grow. While it's common to find shedded skin, witnessing the actual molting process is more challenging. Snakes are vulnerable during this time and seek hidden, safe places to shed.

Photographer Shintaro Seki, 51, spotted a striped snake with cloudy eyes in a rice paddy, indicating its readiness to molt. The cloudy eyes are caused by fluid entering the gap between the old and new skin.

He observed the snake's nose crack open as it emerged from the old skin, its eyes regaining their normal shape. The molting process, resembling turning a sock inside out, took about an hour.

"Its eyes were luminous and its body was glossy," Seki remarked. "I was moved when I saw one molt for the first time. It is a moment that is not often seen even in captivity."

Striped snakes are endemic to Japan and can be found throughout the country.

Seki advises against approaching or touching a molting snake. "Snakes are very nervous during molting, so watch over them gently," he said.