Dorsal scales

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The dorsal scales of a snake are those which encircle the body exclusive of the ventral scales. Counts of these longitudinal scale rows are made at three points along a snake's body:[1]

  • A head's length behind the head.
  • Midbody.
  • A heads length before the vent (cloaca).

A dorsal scale count of 25-23-21 would specify these three dorsal scale counts, for example. It is easiest to count dorsal scale rows diagonally, starting with a paraventral scale.[1]

Cited references

  1. 1.0 1.1 Campbell JA, Lamar WW. 2004. The Venomous Reptiles of the Western Hemisphere. Comstock Publishing Associates, Ithaca and London. 870 pp. 1500 plates. ISBN 0-8014-4141-2.