Yes, snakes have scales though in captivity they have been bred producing snakes that are scaleless.

In the wild their scales have serval uses, first of which is similar to a fish, a coat of armor around the snake which adds that layer of protection.

But snakes’ scales differ largely when compared to a fish scale.

A fish can lose one scale, but a snake can’t, this is because a snake’s scale is continuous folded skin, therefor if a snake damaged a scale it is the same as a human getting a cut or damage.

A snake cannot replenish a scale also, it will just leave scar tissue, again similar to humans.

Are They Waterproof?

yes, snake scales are waterproof, but they also do absorb some of the moisture into the skin, this is important for some species to maintain good condition in the wild.

Seconding this is water hydrates the skin & loosens the shed, which is dry, making the shedding process much easier, increasing the likelihood of a clean one piece shed.

Too much water can be dangerous and grow into mould or scale rot.

Snake Scales

Snake Scales For Movement

Some snake scales are rough, other are smooth. A snake’s belly scales are smoother than their back.

Most of the grip of a snake comes from wrapping around trees, when climbing requiring more grip.

But when moving across the ground a snake’s scales are smoother to make moving much easier and effortless.

Their belly scales are also larger than on their back too, again this aids the snake in movement making it much easier and uses less energy to do so.

How Snake Shed Scales

The scales are made of cells, keeping it simple. The snake’s scales are hard and rough on the outside and softer on the inner.

If you have seen a snake shed its skin, you will have noticed the cloudy blue dull color they have, this is where the old skin/scales are beginning to separate.

One separated the out scales die, and begins to dry out rapidly, this is why water helps snake scales during this time. Because it is dead, water will lubricate the shed making it more durable and easier for the snake to dispatch of.

Are All Snake Scales The Same?

No, snakes have thousands of different shapes, size and names for these.

A good example of where the snake’s scales differ is the head of a snake. Each scale has adapted and shaped to cover the entire head, from small triangles to long shield type scales.

Black Snake Scales

Other Purposes

Camouflage, this wide depends on the environment of the snake but a snakes scales comes in a wide array of different colours from dull brown all the way up to bright green.

Protection, snake scales are hardened and therefore when in conflict is a great asset for any snake, making the snake hard to penetrate.


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