We know that snakes shed their skin and we know that lizards, like snakes, are reptiles. It follows logically enough that lizards, even including little soft geckos, shed their skins but I must admit that the thought had never crossed my mind until I found this shed skin under a piece of loose bark on a fallen tree trunk.
It is the skin of a gecko about the size of our house geckos. Given that I found it in a rural area, well away from any house, it probably came from the native house gecko or Dtella. The fact that I can see no sign of tail-spines supports that guess, but it’s hard to be sure – the whole skin is so soft, light and delicate that it floats to ground like a feather when dropped, and any spines wouldn’t stand out as they do on the animal. My first photo, of course, is an extreme close-up: the whole skin is only about 10cm long.
We always have lots of geckos around the house so I wondered why I had never seen a shed skin before. It turns out that most lizards, including geckos, normally shed their skin in patches rather than in one piece so my near-complete skin is a bit unusual. And it wouldn’t normally last long, either: a friendly herpetologist told me that the lizard often eats its skin as it lifts off. If not, I guess something else soon will – why waste good protein?
More: Shedding in other groups of reptiles at MadSci Network