Keratophagy in action

Keratophagy is the consumption of part or all of a shed skin. Most of the time we see this in the herptile world it is cases of autokeratophagy, like when geckos eat their own skin.

However, I have discovered that my Tioman Island kukri, Oligodon purpurascens, thinks the sheds I throw in his cage for enrichment are actually snacks. I thought it was a fluke the first time I caught him doing it, but this series of pics is from the fourth occurrence of the behaviour.

These pics also give a great view of the modified rear-fangs that give the genus their name


That’s super interesting. I had no idea any snake species would eat a shed. Will he eat his own sheds? And do they eat snakes in the wild?


Nope, does not eat his own sheds or sheds from the other 1.2 kukri I have

Probably. There are not a ton of ecological studies of them and they are a pretty secretive species. Based on the materials I have found and my own experience, they are generalists and will eat pretty much anything they can overpower and are also not averse to scavenging