My reptilian aliens that lactate become adults at 20 years old. I might add a graph here of proposed shedding rates over time and maybe even a separate graph for growth.

But here is what I am proposing for the shedding rates:

Hatchling: 0-3 months

Shedding once every few days to a week because growth rate is fast. Less shedding if sleep schedule happens to change from what it was when the alien hatched due to milk proteins changing the circadian rhythm and thus less resources for growth but once it has stabilized, more shedding and growth to compensate until it gets back to the normal size range

Early Juvenile: 3-24 months

Shedding rate steadily decreases to once a month. Again if sleep schedule changes, shedding and growth will decrease until sleep schedule stabilizes, then increase to compensate.

Middle Juvenile: 2-6 years

Steady at 1 shed per month. Very unlikely for sleep schedule to change because the aliens don't drink milk from their mom anymore after they reach 2 years of age.

Late Juvenile: 6-10 years

Shedding rate starts increasing during this time until at 10 years, the shedding rate is once every 2 weeks

Early Adolescent: 10-15 years

Males still shed at a rate of once every 2 weeks but females, while whole body shedding is still once every 2 weeks, nipple skin shedding and pouch skin shedding is higher and it will reach once every few days. Pouch skin shedding will stay at that rate longer though

Late Adolescent: 15-20 years

Shedding rate starts to taper off for both males and females because growth rate slows down. Nipple specific shedding will have stopped, pouch skin shedding will decrease, and whole body shedding will decrease down to a minimum of once a year.

Adult: 20+ years

Adults shed anywhere from once every few months to once a year. This is when developing fertile eggs will increase pouch skin shedding rate due to a specific hormone that the pouch skin has receptors for while the rest of the skin does not have those specific receptors. This hormone also happens to trigger lactation indirectly.

Are these shedding rates reasonable?


1 Answer 1


What you've done here is match shedding rates to growth (more or less) and so yes, this is probably reasonable if you're looking to shed a complete skin every so often.

But, this is not your only solution.

Snakes certainly do shed a complete skin, but most lizards for instance shed parts of their skin off at a time. Turtles do something similar because of their shell (getting a complete skin off around a shell would be quite difficult) in that they shed sections of skin off their heads and flippers on a periodic basis as their skin is renewed.

For the record, humans also shed their skin. They just do it at a more continuous rate than most reptiles do. This is also one of the reasons that exfoliants are part of the beauty regime of many people; get all that dead skin off in one hit to feel fresh and new.

If you want your reptile species to shed a complete skin because it makes for a good story or plot device, then what you have is reasonable. But, just because your creatures are reptiles it doesn't mean that they HAVE to shed a complete skin.

Ironically, I can imagine a reptilian species who have skin flake off in sections would most likely use exfoliants on a more regular basis. I don't know if anyone outside of Australia has heard of a soap called Solvol, but here it's a really strong exfoliant soap that was used for decades by people working in dirty environments like coal mining to get the grime off their skin. Reptiles may use something very similar like we use soap to 'clean' their skin by removing flakes of the dead or dying skin as well as to remove dirt and grime.

Bear in mind though that reptiles are cold blooded. This means that they literally don't regulate their internal body temperature, meaning that they don't pant or sweat. In this case, their washing regime is probably focused on removing dead skin, not bad smelling stale sweat off the body. So; reptilian 'humans' may well wash as often as humans, but for very different reasons, especially if they don't shed a complete skin.


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