The histology and the protein, carbohydrate, lipid and enzyme histochemistry of the dermis of the chequered water snake, Natrix piscator, have been examined throughout the sloughing cycle.
The structural organization and staining properties of the dermis do not show any changes in different stages of the cycle.
The dermis is divided into the stratum laxum and the stratum compactum. Acid mucopolysaccharide deposits in the stratum laxum, which possibly bind water, may be involved in prevention of desiccation.
The numerous elastin fibres in the hinge regions are related to the greater elasticity of the skin in these sites.