Shedding is a normal part of life for any reptile. For plated lizards, this process is similar to mammals, which shed their skin and hair almost constantly in order to accommodate grow and renew old cells. Shedding typically occurs more or less often depending on individual factors like age, growth rate, and weight fluctuations.

However, plated lizards are unique from many other reptiles because they shed more like mammals and birds, being almost constantly in shed. It is very normal for some skin and scales to flake off almost every day. It is theorized that they evolved this method of shedding to better maintain their hard scale “armor”, eliminating the usual predation risk associated with a sudden shed cycle.

Scales that are ready to shed are paler than the rest. If you notice one that isn’t coming off, resist the temptation to start picking it off yourself. This can be irritating and even painful to the lizard, and can even damage the developing scales beneath. Instead, raise the humidity with a spray bottle and some distilled water. If anything comes loose, you may *gently* pry it off. But stop when you meet resistance!

If humidity is the problem, providing a larger water dish and/or weekly misting with distilled water can be very effective. You can learn more about maintaining your plated lizard’s humidity levels here.

Due to fairly low humidity needs and their unique shed cycle, plated lizards rarely have significant issues with shedding, such as stuck shed around the toes or tail. However, it’s always a good idea to check for visible constriction from stuck shed in these areas because otherwise your pet may lose toes or the tip of its tail. If you notice consistent issues with stuck shed, that means you need to reevaluate your enclosure conditions.

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