“there the snake throws her enamel’d skin”
About the middle of this month we found in a field near a hedge the slough of a large snake, which seemed to have been newly cast. From circumstances it appeared as if turned wrong side outward, & drawn off backward, like a stocking, or a woman’s glove. Not only the whole skin, but the scales from the very eyes are peeled off, & appear in the head of the slough like a pair of spectacles. The reptile, at the time of changing his coat, had intangled himself intricately in the grass & weeds, so that the friction of the stlaks & blades might promote this curious shifting of his exuviae. “lubrica serpens/Exuit in spinis vestem.” It would be a most entertaining sight could a person be an eye-witness to such a feat, & see the snake in the act of changing his garment. As the convexity of the scales of the eyes in the slough are now inward, that circumstance alone is a proof that the skin has been turned: not to mention that now the present inside is much darker, than the outer. If you look through the scales of the snake’s eyes from the concave side, viz: as the reptile used them, they lessen objects much. Thus it appears from what has been said that snakes crawl out of the mouth of their own sloughs, & quit the tail part last; just as eels are skinned by a cook maid. While the scales of the eyes are growing loose, & a new skin is forming, the creature, in appearance, must be blind, & feel itself in an awkward uneasy situation.