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Common Illness of Snakes

DISCLAIMER:  We are not veterinarians but these are things that we have learned over the years of breeding reptile.  Trying some of these cures is at your own risk.  If you don't feel comfortable doing these things then please for your and your reptiles safety seek professional help.

Shedding

The ideal shed for a snake is for it to shed all in one piece, but this doesn't always happen.  There are a couple reasons as to why the skin does not come off all at once, humidity levels, bites marks or scratches in the skin from feeding live prey.  The humidity level of there enclosure should be kept between 50 and 60% for most Boa's and Pythons.  Please check our care sheets or other literature for proper humidity level for you specific snake.  During the shedding process a slightly higher level should be obtained of around 70%.  If you are having problems maintaining your humidity level there are a couple of quick fixes you can try.  If the top of your enclosure is screened or you have a lot of ventilation you need to cut down on the air flow thru the enclosure.  Hold in the heat and the humidity might go up.  If using an aquarium with a screen lid you can cut a piece of cardboard and poke several holes in it that will fit over a section of the screen lid.  You need to also mist the enclosure as well.  By moving there water dish closer to the heat source (there hot spot) you will increase the evaporation level of the water which will increase the humidity level inside the enclosure.   When your snake gets close to shedding you may also fill a spray bottle with hot water and mist the snake directly.  Don't worry about the hot water because by the time it travels thru the air and hits the snake it will have become warm water.  If your snake has shed and it has come off in patches you may also place your snake in a warm water bath for about an hour or so and this will help the rest of the skin to come off.  REMEMBER after a shed always check the shed for the eye caps.  If eye caps are not present then use scotch tape and gently in a rolling motion roll over the eye this will usually remove the eye caps.  If they are still stuck us a small amount of Vaseline and a q-tip over the eye this will generally soften them up and get them ready for your next attempt with the scotch tape. 


Burns

Burns should have a triple antibiotic cream, such as Neosporin, applied to them to ward of immediate infection.  Burns usually occur when they come in contact with a lighting source or a malfunctioning heat rock.  The burnt skin will generally fall off after several days leaving the tender meat underneath exposed.  When this happens it is best to have the snake substrate either be carpet, paper, or paper towel to keep foreign object out of the area.  After skin falling off clean with a 50/50 mix of water and peroxide and apply Neosporin. 

Contact veterinarian as soon as possible.


Bites

Generally occur from live prey being fed.  Clean bite area with 50/50 solution of water and peroxide and apply triple antibiotic cream.

Consult vet ASAP


Mouth Rot or Swollen Mouth

Sores on tip of Nose

Increase the ambient temperature of the enclosure to 85 to 90 degrees.  Clean mouth area with a 50/50 hydrogen peroxide/water solution.Any spots on outside of mouth area should be cleaned and have Neosporin applied to the affected area.  This needs to be done 2 to 3 times daily.

Contact a veterinarian as soon as possible.

 


Belly Rot


Clean the entire affected area by swabbing with a 50/50 hydrogen peroxide and water solution.  Look for multiple places of rot.  The rot may also include blister which need to be trained by a trained professional. Neosporin need to be applied to the areas at least twice a day and must be worked in to get under the scales. Immediately clean the enclosure thoroughly. Raise ambient temperature to around 90 degrees.

Consult your veterinarian as soon as possible, other antibiotic treatment may be required.

 

This is not a complete list of diseases for snakes.  If you are unsure as to what may be wrong with your snake it is best to ask a professional assistance in diagnosis and proper treatment.