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Snakes/snake skin identification


sword 2
sword 2  
sword 1
sword 1  
QUESTION: I have two old Japanese swords which scabbards are covered with snake skin. Although they have been tinted with various colors, they appear to be python skins. I would like to get expert advice in identifying those skins.
I attach photos.


ANSWER: Its actually pretty hard to tell exactly what snake was used in making items due to all the dies, chemicals and treatments that are used on them. They change and alter the skin quite a bit. In some ways it actually looks like a young reticulated python skin but I find it interesting that they would use retic skin. Typically venemous snakes such as rattlers, cotton mouths, etc. are what are used when a snake skin is needed due to their more raised and textured scales. I would guess a retic or rattler off the bat but like I said its pretty hard to say.The pattern in the second picture looks very odd though, are you sure its actual snake skin and not a painted or printed pattern? Have you ever tried looking up any info on the swords? If you know any info, such as the name, maker, style, etc. It should say what skins were used.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks a lot. The use of smooth scales skin was probably due to the fact that katanas need to slide easily under the kimono belt. In addition, the skins seem to have been smoothed (maybe polished)for even greater smoothness. The date on one of the swords is year 1369, but they might be copies. However they are very old anyway. I agree on the pattern of the second sword. The skin might have been plain white and the pattern printed. The scales are bigger, more regular and very trapezoidal on this one, except underneath where they become wide/long instead of trapezoidal. On a photo it's a little hard to see, but in hand, the texture is very obvious (the scales can be felt in hand).
Any second opinion is most welcome.

Yeah they just dont look like any typical scales, I have a few snakes in mind but the shapeand size is wrong so I have to rule those out. Sorry I couldnt help you find out what they are, if you find out for sure let me know. Im interested in seeing what they are.


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Amber Barrett


I can answer any and all questions about snakes, whether its how to pick the right snake for your needs and wants, eating and temperature issues, health problems ( I can not give a diagnosis or make up for vetrinary treatment but can give options on what to do). I can also answer any questions on breeding snakes, what it entitles, what you can expect, I know quite a bit about any products for snakes and their husbandry.


I currently keep over 150 snakes, I keep everything from ball pyhtons, to retics to green tree pythons. I have been around them my whole life due to a family interest in breeding them. I have researched, purchased, and delt with just about every snake, product and issue you can run into.

Although I do not have a degree in herpatology, I have been around snakes my whole life and through books, research and life I know alot about them.

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