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Common Health Problems for Pet Snakes

Updated on January 21, 2016
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Whitney has raised and bred different species of geckos, snakes, lizards, tortoises and other exotics since 2003

Signs of a Healthy Snake

Snakes are pretty simple to keep as pets, which makes them very attractive to the reptile owner. They require minimal handling, feeding, and overall care, which is a plus in many people's books.

Pet snakes are also usually pretty robust and healthy, but like all animals, they are subject to several common health conditions, even if you keep them in optimal conditions.

Remember that depending on what species of snake you keep, the husbandry and overall care are going to vary, so make sure that you fully understand the husbandry of the particular snake species you have. Proper husbandry and care can be the biggest factor in preventing health concerns, although not eliminating them 100%.

First, you'll want to be aware of the signs of a healthy snake, which include:

  • Clear eyes
  • Clear nose and mouth
  • Rounded and full body
  • Alertness and activity
  • Regular eating
  • Healthy skin

Next, understand common signs of health issues:

  • Wrinkled or rubbed skin
  • Vomiting
  • Discharge in nose or mouth
  • Lethargy
  • Abnormal feces or urine
  • Decreased appetite

Here are the common illnesses of snakes, in alphabetical order.

Mouth abscess
Mouth abscess

Abscesses

Abscesses are generally caused by a previous injury that gets infected by bacteria. An abscess usually appears as a lump that protrudes from underneath the skin and sometimes extends into the internal organs. Abscesses are commonly confused with tumors, un-laid eggs, or constipation. Leave it to an experienced vet to determine whether the lump is truly an abscess. If it is, let the veterinarian treat it, which tends to involve lancing and draining the abscess, with at least one follow-up appointment for cleaning and changing the dressing. The vet may also opt to treat the abscess with an antibiotic.

Blister Disease

Blister disease can be avoided with proper husbandry. Fluid-filled blisters will usually form on the underside of a snake housed in a dirty, moldy, or overly moist substrate. Blisters may be few at first, but then quickly grow in number and become life-threatening, especially if they spread near the mouth, nose, or cloaca.

The best treatment is to prevent blister disease from developing. Keep the substrate clean and dry. Make sure to remove feces and urates. Change the bedding frequently.

You can treat one or two blisters at home by sterilizing a needle and piercing the blister; use a clean cotton swab or a bandage to absorb the fluid. Make sure to swab the blisters twice a day with betadine or hydrogen peroxide, and apply an antibiotic ointment. House the snake in a quarantine tank on paper towels until the blisters have healed.

If there are multiple blisters, or the blisters are in sensitive areas, consult a reputable vet as soon as possible.

Constipation

Depending on the size of your snake and his metabolism rate, it may take longer than you expect for him to complete the digestion process, but if you notice that his defecation schedule is way off, your snake may be constipated. A constipated snake may appear bloated and lethargic and have a decreased appetite. Make sure to check the cage thoroughly just to make sure that you didn't miss anything. If you are sure there are no feces in the enclosure, you'll want to soak the snake in warm water for about 15 minutes a day. Usually, the warm water will stimulate excretion; if not, and you notice that your snake is swelling in the abdominal area, you'll want to visit a vet as soon as possible.

Built-up feces can become so impacted that surgery may be the only option to keep the snake from dying. You snake may have ingested a foreign object which could be blocking him from defecating.

Rat bite
Rat bite

Cuts and Abrasions

Treat any type of cut on your snake just as you would on yourself. Keep it clean and put a small dab of antibiotic ointment once a day until the wound has healed. You can try to bandage the snake, although this may be nearly impossible; you may want to consider a waterproof band-aid. Not all cuts need a bandage. Set the snake up in a quarantine tank with paper towels so that nothing can irritate the wound.

Try to find out what cut the snake, so that you can prevent it from happening again. If it was a rostral abrasion, caused by the snake rubbing his face on the wire of the cage while trying to escape the enclosure, you want to either cover the screen or change the type of enclosure you're using. The other common cause of a cut or abrasion is rat bite, so switch to frozen feeders or pre-killed food.

IBD
IBD

Inclusion Body Disease

IBD is probably one of the most serious diseases of captive snakes. It is only found in the boid family, and most common in Burmese pythons and boa constrictors. Although the signs are varied, you'll want to look for neurological disturbances (such as not righting itself when on its back, "star-gazing," unresponsiveness, regurgitation, asymmetrical dilation of pupils, and paralysis) and for tumors and other illnesses. If you think that your snake has IBD, isolate it immediately and consult a reptile vet as soon as possible. Although there isn't any treatment for the disease, you need to quarantine the snake away from other snakes and either bleach or discard the enclosure so not to pass the disease to other snakes. This illness is just one of many reasons to quarantine new snakes for at least 90 days.

Internal Parasites

Usually, you'll encounter internal parasites among wild-caught individuals. A snake can pick up internal parasites from its prey or from contact with another infected reptile. This is another great reason to quarantine new individuals. Common signs of internal parasites include regurgitation, lack of appetite, and an overall unwell appearance. If you think that your snake has parasites, take a fecal sample to your vet. He may prescribe a treatment or refer you to an over-the-counter worm treatment for cats and dogs. But NEVER use these without the supervision of a reptile vet.

Two ticks around a wound
Two ticks around a wound

Mites and Ticks

Mites will appear as tiny, fast-moving dots on the outside of your snake and within his enclosure, and can be either red, black, or white. Getting rid of mites is a bit complicated. Soak the snake in a warm bath for a few hours, or until you are sure that all the mites have fallen off and drowned. While you wait, completely disinfect the enclosure and everything that you had inside it. You may have to do this a few times before you are able to successfully get rid of the mites.

Ticks are larger, and usually fewer in number; they tend to remain attached to the snake's body, usually buried between the scales. The safest way of removing ticks is to smear petroleum jelly thickly over the entire tick, especially the head, as this will suffocate it enough to make it let go of the snake. Don't remove a tick with tweezers because you could 1) damage the snake's skin or 2) leave the head still attached, which leaves the snake open to infection.

Regurgitation

Regurgitation is commonly caused by stress, handling too soon after a meal, improper husbandry, or an undiagnosed illness. Wait at least two days after feeding your snake before you try to handle it; moving it from a feeding cage to its permanent cage is fine, but do nothing else. Make sure that your snake has a nice warm spot to lie in after eating, to aid digestion; low temperatures can cause regurgitation. Food that is too large is also commonly regurgitated, so make sure not to feed prey items that are larger than the girth of the snake.

If you think that your snake may have some other illness, take him to a vet. You shouldn't take regurgitation lightly, especially if your snake has regurgitated his meals on multiple occasions, as this can lead to a psychological problem that causes the snake to avoid that particular type of food.

Retained eyecap
Retained eyecap

Respiratory Illness

For the most part, respiratory illnesses can be prevented as long as you follow proper husbandry requirements and provide a clean, warm, stress-free environment. But, if you notice signs of coughing, wheezing, open-mouth breathing, runny nose, clicking noises when breathing, and lethargy, a respiratory illness may be the cause. In this case, immediately raise the temperature in the enclosure to stimulate the proper immune responses, move the snake to a quiet room (if it's in a busy area of the house) away from other snakes or reptiles, setting it up in a quarantine enclosure with paper towels. If it's a minor infection or illness, the snake may overcome it on its own; otherwise, if the condition worsens, consult your vet as soon as possible.

Shedding Problems (Retained Eyecaps or Tail)

When there are shedding concerns, usually hydration is the problem. If the snake is not properly hydrated he may suffer retained skin on his eyecaps or tail. Make sure that you raise the humidity at the first sign that your snake is going to shed. When you notice that your snake's eyes are turning a blue shade, either 1) mist the enclosure twice daily, 2) put a larger water bowl in the enclosure, or 3) begin soaking the snake in warm water once a day.

Some snakes will always have shedding problems, because they require a dry environment or because of an old injury. When these snakes shed, check the skin to make sure that it all came off in one piece. If the tip of the tail is not shed, it can restrict blood flow and the tail may need to be amputated. So if the tip of the tail is still stuck after a few sheds, you need to remove it. You also need to make sure that the eyecaps were properly shed, as retained eyecaps can cause infection. Usually, if the snake retains his eyecaps during one shed, they will come off on the next shed, but that is not always the case.

To remove an eyecap, you can take a piece of tape and remove most of its stickiness by pressing it onto a clean surface and removing it over and over again. Then, lightly touch the tape to the snake's eye and gently try to remove the eyecap. You may want to moisten the eyecap with a dab of water or mineral oil first. If you have any problems, or you're nervous about removing the eyecap yourself, consult your vet.

Mouth rot
Mouth rot

Stomatitis

Stomatitis, more commonly referred to as mouth rot, is pretty common among captive reptiles. It's caused by bacteria in the mouth that get into an open wound, causing infection within the lining of the gums and mouth, and potentially the entire digestive tract. Signs of mouth rot include swelling or color change in your snake's mouth and gums, gaps in the snake's mouth when it is closed, or frequent rubbing or opening its mouth.

You want to keep the bacteria in the enclosure to a minimum so to prevent infection, so make sure to clean the entire enclosure regularly, provide fresh water, and eliminate any source of injury to the mouth or the surrounding area.

Put the snake in a quarantine enclosure with paper towels and clean the mouth with a cotton swab dipped in 1% Betadine solution. Make sure that the snake doesn't swallow any of the Betadine or any infectious material by keeping his head downwards while flushing out his mouth. If the condition doesn't improve within one week, consult a vet.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. The methods outlined above may or may not work for your pet. If you have any concerns, you should consult a specialized reptile veterinarian.

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    • profile image

      Polly Esther 11 days ago

      My snake just scared the lord out of me when he just started dry heaving...?? He ate last week. He had a bowl movement.. He is laying under his lamp. He is flaking off his nose but it isnt shedding time yet??

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      Corbin Custer 4 weeks ago

      I have a ball python about five years old, and I just recognized yesterday that around his tail and butt, there are these air pockets that popped up undet his skin and I have no clue what it is, there is some redness as well. And I'd like to know what's wrong so I can get him treated if needed

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      Anneke 2 months ago

      We changed our snakes bedding from bark to sand a while ago. I have just noticed yesterday that he has got sand covering all of one side of his sensors? Under his mouth and his throat seems to be getting a bit puffy. Is there an easy way to clean out the sand? Bath maybe.

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      Pete 4 months ago

      Hello

      I have a Hognose snake aprox 3-4 months old. She has eat today and now near where her food is in her stomach their is a small protrusion. I dont like to handle her after eating so have only rubbed it gently for a moment but it feels almost like scales poke up. Could new food in the belly cause this type of protrusion as it wasn't their yesterday before she eat?

      Thanks in advance

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 4 months ago from Victoria, Australia

      Rhiannon, 2 weeks isn't really a long time, but make sure she has plenty of fresh water, and her cage is warm enough.

      If you're still worried in anothr 2 weeks, perhaps a visit to a vet would be a good idea. Better to be safe. Sometimes, a snake will not pass faeces when they are due for a shed. Perhaps she is showing signs of this?

      Hope this helps.

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      Brittany 4 months ago

      Our 2 ball python have the popping when breathing sometimes but not all the time but it's been like that since we got them over 6 months ago... could it be something else?

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      Rhiannon 4 months ago

      I'm worried because my children's Python hasn't passed her last feed 2 weeks ago she was fed is she ok or dose she need a vet

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      Charlie 4 months ago

      I was wondering if any one could help me my snake had shed about two three days ago and now when I put her in the bath she rools over onto her back and just lies there but i have not seen her do it any other time does this mean she could have something rong with her as she has never done it bethore and should I think about separating her fromissions the male snake

    • profile image

      adam 5 months ago

      my snake has this redish looking ball inside of its body and it moves

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      uzii 5 months ago

      Hi i got a ball python and lately it start these red things to apare under my ball python and plust her mouth stays open and bubel comes out i want to know whats the reason becous i got 9 hamsters in the same room to can it becous of the hamsters?

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      Kenzie 7 months ago

      Hi me and my boyfriend got a red tailed boah a few months ago but ever since we're had him e hasn't ate a thing. We tried live and dead rats. But now his eyes are really swollen. Should we just put him down or is it fixable??

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      Dennis Dunbar 7 months ago

      My ball python has a weird blue-green color on one side of her face and I am concerned because I can't find any information on what that might be

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      KC 7 months ago

      So I fed my male ball python 2 days ago (he's about 6 months old). I woke up this morning and he had regurgitated. This evening, he's been going into random fits where he's moving his whole body in an S shape and opening his mouth to dispel his mucous. I have NO clue what is going on. I've dealt with an RI, and this doesn't show signs of an RI. I only moved him from his feeding tank to his enclosure, nothing since then.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 months ago from Georgia

      Could just be the urate.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 months ago from Georgia

      It could be parasites. Try cleaning out the tank with new substrate and disinfecting all decor and housing. That or an abscess.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 months ago from Georgia

      I would recommend separating the two snakes. It sounds like one is bullying another. They really should be separated.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 months ago from Georgia

      Sounds like it could be retained eye caps due to not shedding the eye caps. Try increasing the humidity.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 months ago from Georgia

      Where is the sound coming from? When is she making the noise? Have you consulted a vet or the breeder

      /

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 7 months ago from Georgia

      Where is the lump?

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      Jamea 7 months ago

      Found slight off white discharge from my boas rectal vent, doesn't seem to have any smell but there seems to be some left around the viv as well, he is due to poo and is late in doing so, any ideas ?

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      SALLY 8 months ago

      We have corn snake and on his head have white bubbles can you tel us what are they

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      Michelle 9 months ago

      Why did my albino snake skin go green on face

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      Jr langille 11 months ago

      I have two ball pythons and they lived together all there live but now the one seems to alway act up it seems like he's always trying to fight the other by walking all over him and pressing up on him then he flips around like a fish it seems he is stress out or something ther tank is 6 foot by 2 foot and two foot high

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      snakesmum 11 months ago

      Annielord21,

      If your snake has cloudy eyes, it is most likely a sign that she is about to shed. It's best not to handle her until after she has shed, as doing so could damage the new skin. Once her eyes clear she will shed in a matter of days. Another sign that a shed is imminent is that the skin will be dull and lose its gloss.

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      annielord21 11 months ago

      My snake is a boa constrictor and she has cloudy eyes but she look very helthy but it's just her eyes that I'm worried about

    • profile image

      Sarah howarth 11 months ago

      Okay im really worried, my orange dream spider ball is acting strange with something i cant seem to find online, she's not very old about 8 months old, she's very healthy, eats well, skin is fine, but she's making a very funny noise and is very very loud, its like a diarrhoea sound but i noticed her mouth was open i don't know if she was coughing? If snakes cough... This lasts about 20 seconds maybe? She seems fine after But i have no idea whats wrong with her, she's done this twice since i fed her. I really want to know whats wrong its really worrying me :( i don't know if this is just diarrhoea, if she's sick, or anything else. The temperatures on either end of the tank are perfect, humid levels are good and the water bowl is always fresh. Tank is always clean. Can someone please help me understand what this is?

    • profile image

      Erus 12 months ago

      I love my snakes and i make sure they are healthy.

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      Michelle 13 months ago

      I have a 3 1/2 year old. He's eating, shedding and pooing fine. Seems well in his self. He has had a lump for around 3 months now , which seems to be getting bigger slowly. Vets have drawn a sample, found nothing. An xray has also found nothing. So am at a loss as to what to do next. Then a few days ago I noticed another lump, quite small, developing further down towards his tail. Advice e please?

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      Ashley Carter 13 months ago

      I have a 13 yr old Eastern King snake he's always been healthy . Until his last feeding now he seems unwell his scales r coming off he is shrinking in his back half and has a bulge that is in his neck idk what to do he is dying ik but I love him and I need help finding a herp vet. Thanks

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      zoe middleton 15 months ago

      I have a mate who has just approached me about his male snake that mimics a boa constrictor that is discharging a green substance and hasnt got a hapitite nor has it shed for 7months what does this mean

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      Doug 18 months ago

      Hey my red tail boa recently started tilting its head all the way upside down had her for 4 years never seen it do this ever she is eating and seems normal other wise ? Ive looked all over help can someone help me

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Very interesting and helpful hub. Voted up.

      Once loaned out my Morelia bredli for breeding and he came back with mites, which was not fun. Kept them from my other snakes, and got rid of them in a few days, but Mr Python was not happy!

      Hope to never have to deal with the other problems mentioned here.

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      Kristen 2 years ago

      hello I have a juvenile Colombian red tailed boa and recently moved well she went in her tank for the night in our new place and she was fine but within a week her pupils have dilated and haven't gone back to normal and she seems more grumpy. She's never once in her life huffed at me and shedisd repeatedly when I tried to take her out to inspect her. She also has this bruise like spot near her end tail and her scales are like bending away from her body. I'm really really worried about her and haven't taken her to the vet yet as I'm waiting for my tax return do you think I need to take her ASAP or do you have any idea what's wrong with her?

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      mark 3 years ago

      my boa constrictor is having what looks like trouble breathing he repeatingly opens his mouth, he looks very well its just his actions that are out of the ordinary.He had his first rat only a day ago and ate it quite easily but during the day before and now he has been consistantly opening his mouth.

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      timshark 3 years ago

      Hi, I have a kingsnake that is about 8 months old. It has shed several times since I got it, in pieces but it does all seem to come off. I do try and increase the humidity often. Although for several months now it's skin appears wrinkled in some areas and I'm not sure why. Any insight would be great. My snake has a great appetite and seems fine otherwise.

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 4 years ago from Georgia

      Sounds like it could be a prolapse. Treat with warm sugar water soak to see if that helps.

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      babyboa2013 4 years ago

      I have a boa constrictor under a year old he has a sollen red colcoa.i was wondering if their is anything wrong with him and if theirs anything I could do to help.

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      bob 5 years ago

      my snake has a pink line going down its belly but before this he was gone for three months. And before he was gone he didn't have it is this going to be a problem? My snake is a ball python.

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      lynn 5 years ago

      my corn snake is 4years old and has just laid a clutch of eggs about 27 she has one egg left in her but can not push it out, as she pushes you can see flesh coming out as well

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      Ali 5 years ago

      I had an anacanda still young and last night i noticed it wasnt moving as much and so when i went to put some more water in the tank it didnt strike me as it normally does. I noticed his skin was a bit bubbly and when i picked it up his body was very limp...it also looked as if his muscles were giving out his body was laying there in a very weird way..does anyone know what that could have been?

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      Johnnie Ann 5 years ago

      I have a 1 year old ball python. We have had here about 6 months or so...... She has been a great pet but kinda moody at times, to me it seems like a bit too moody for a snake supposly raised buy humans.my question is...... The past month or do I have noticed that her skin is grayish and her eyes have a haze over them. We called the pet store and they wasn't to helpful. She hasn't shed in quite a while. I know she will shed when she gets ready. But it's been a while. Any answers will help. She has gotten to be part of the family and we don't want anything to happen to the ol girl. Thanks!!! JA Shirle...... My email is.... j_ann_craft_5811@yahoo.com

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      felicity 5 years ago

      I have a young red tail with body twitches and she is very cold. She wants to b in her water bowl a lot. I haven't had her long but she means a lot to me and my daughter . Please help

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      John Parrish 5 years ago

      My red tail boa about three years old started refusing rats and has been vomiting up a jelly like substance can someone help me I can't find anything about it

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      Wyeth 5 years ago

      I've had my young ball python for four months now and only recently has he started to refuse his mice(he is a very enthusiastic eater, and all of a sudden he doesn't even notice the little rodents) as well as he is very rough and dry with white in between the scales(I keep the moisture and heat level up to par though). Is there anything I can do to take care of the issues? Thanks!

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      Amber 5 years ago

      i have a boa, and his eyes has a bluish white tint to them, but hes acting normal, i really hope its just because of shedding, or could this be caused by lights?

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      lolo 5 years ago

      i have a corn snake that recently has stop taking her food. now her past few meals have been small rats. i hear that they normaly dont like rats and like mice. ive also notcied that she has started to rub her head against her body as if to shed but she jus did last month and dosent even look ready to. i dont know if she is sick or not...

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      Amber 5 years ago

      I am not sure if you can help me or not but I was wondering if a snake can eat something that is to big for it? If so can it bust them open before them letting it up? My snake ate a rather large guinea pig (no I didnt feed it to her, she kinda took it), and now she is stretched out. I can see the white between her scales. I am really worried, and have no vet in my area that deal with reptiles. Thanks

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      Becky 5 years ago

      I have had my corn snake for 5 weeks now and it hasn't eaten at all while I've had him. I went to feed him tonight n noticed he had a lump it looked like he had already eaten but that couldn't be possible any Ideas n recommendation ????

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      vivien prestage 5 years ago

      our jungle carpet is shaking and very floppy he also keeps opening his mouth wide can you help?

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      Joleen 5 years ago

      Hi, You seem to be very knowledgable. I am very worried about my snake. We have had him for 6 years and he has done very well in 3 moves (2 of which were across the country) We have been very carefull to do regular feedings, and we watch his shedding everytime to ensure it goes well. His last shedding did not go well (NONE of the skin came off) so we bathed him and assisted the shedding and he seemed happy for 2 days, We went to feed him as he is usually read to heat about week after a shedding and he did not eat his mouse, instead he is eating the substrate, (eco-earth for reptiles). And I mean MOUTHFULLS of it. We thought he had done it by accident so we left him alone as the bath and assitance seemed to stress him abit on the first day, but I think overnight he has eaten alot of substrate as his mouse was untouched and he is looking much thicker than normal. I am trying to find a good vet that can see him urgently as I don't want him to die (hes been with us for 6 years and was our first pet together) but most of the vets I've called are not as familiar with Reptiles. I will be calling the local reptile shop later today to see if they have the name of a good vet we can take him too but I am desperate and I am hoping we can help him before we take him to the vet.

      His enclosure is heated via a pad heater under the terrerium, and misted regularily, and his water is changed regularily as well as filtered to ensure it is clean at all times. We have always used the same substrate and this substrate was only put in just before Christmas. He had one successful shedding after christmas, and he normally eats a mouse every 3-4 weeks.

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      Abby 5 years ago

      My corn snakes puples are different sizes plz help

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      Max 5 years ago

      HI! I just noticed a small cut on the underside of my Ball Python. It is quite small, but there is some blood. What should I do? Antibiotic ointment would just get rubbed off. Thanks.

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      rena 5 years ago

      my python snake was trying to eat a rat,somehow the rat got away and my snake tongue was hanging out of his mouth and was bleeding. can someone please give me some type of feedback on whats going on or what to do?

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      Melissa Johnson 5 years ago

      My husband has a redtail boa thats about 5 to 6 ft long. she eats 2 large or jumbo rats a month. She had not pooped for a month or so until tonight. we soaked her in a luke warm bath with green tea for about 15 minutes.She had a movement but afterward her neck area and body has gotton swollen. This has never happened before and i cant find any information about it.Now after the movement she is very calm and inactive. Any advice or comments on the swelling? Also we massaged her around her anal area lightly while soaking her. any help would be great! thanks!

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      alex 5 years ago

      I have a hypo boa constrictor. female. about 8 or 9 months old. Shes having a reoccurring problem. build up at the end of her tail.. she's not going to the bathroom. and most of all she isn't eating. i love my snake dearly and i treat her well. i wanna know if anyone should think anything of this to tell me? thank you.. :(

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      Chelsea 5 years ago

      Okay my snakes eyes are red but they became milky red and she wot move much I'm scared I love her to death i don't know what to do PLEASE HELP

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      kate 5 years ago

      have a albino rose corn snake was wondering what we should do he has some crazy colors going on and has spot of red under his eye and has large pointy white potato spud thing growing out of his skin under his neck and underneath it is what looks to be dried insides or blood or some sort of scab what could this be and he is weak and has been hiding under a log thing for about a week wasnt like this before he hid and now looks as though about to die was wondering what it could be

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      Luke C. 5 years ago

      I have a red and orange corn snake about 3 years old he has always had a black and white checkered belly but all the sudden it has turned orange the same color as his skin is this a problem?

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      Senia 5 years ago

      when I picked up my spotted python I noticed that when he turned his head the skin around his neck was all wrinkled and under his cave was all wet and I had just cleaned his tank the day before and when I fed him he didn't seem to interested and it took him a long time to eat is something wrong what should I do?

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 5 years ago from Georgia

      Open mouth could be a sign of respiratory infection or concern. Have you seen any other signs of illness?

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      jtlcassell 5 years ago

      I got a large full grown king snake 2 weeks ago. I fed her last mon. and again yesterday, 2 mice each time. we got to noticing she has been laying in her house with her head outside and her mouth slightly open all day. Should i be worried? we use a heat light and its stays right at 80 degress

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      Angel 5 years ago

      ive had a redtail for 7 years and she ate 2 days ago she has a lump down by her neck.... any suggestions???

    • Whitney05 profile image
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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      Once treated properly, it should be fine. You want to keep the snake kept alone, as you should already have your snakes housed. I'd make sure that your friend takes the snake back to the vet after treatment has been completed to verify that the RI has been properly treated and the snake is healthy.

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      Amanda 6 years ago

      Hi, I know RI is contagiouse but after it has cleared up will it come back even if the snake is being properlly cared for? My friend has a snake that has savere RI. Water was poring out its nose! She's treating it and when she's done treating it and its healthy she wants to give it to me. I'm just worried that it could come back. Do you know if it can or will? Like is it cureable or only treatable? I have other snakes so I don't want to risk it spreading

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      Christopher 6 years ago

      My plains garter snake's tongue is white, she isn't hunting for her food anymore, and she is lethargic. What is wrong with her?

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      weseppers 6 years ago

      Your all pets are scared, but I love it, great article you can learn more.

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      Akiser 6 years ago

      Sounds like you need a good vet to take a peek. If I were you in the mean time, I would give him/her electrolyte supplements in the water to keep her/him hydrated and try using some Vaseline to coax the shed off gently. Work it in well and use tweezers to very carefully pull the excess off. If he/she shows any signs of pain, stop and clean off the Vaseline completely, but a vet is more of a must for a check up ad well ad good tips to get the shed off. Best of luck!

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      Stephen 6 years ago

      I was recently given a 3 year old female red tail because she was being neglected. She had mites really bad when i got her, and hasn't eaten in 3 months. I got her mites under control within the first few days, and she shed shortly after, but the shed was incomplete and in

      Pieces. She shed her eye caps, but not her nose pathways, and when I removed the nose covers noticed her nostrils are plugged up. When she breaths it sounds like she's hissing. Any suggestions on clearing up her air pathways so she can breath properly? I have a feeling this issue has a huge impact on her not eating, can't smell the food etc. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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      Darren 6 years ago

      hi i have a young corn snake that has not shed since october. i have tried bathing her durin the day and i keep her tank at the right heat but it dusnt seem to help

      any ideas why she isnt shedding ?

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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      respiratory condition that needs to be 100% diagnosed by a vet as soon as possible.

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      Bobby 6 years ago

      I have a 6 month old red tail boa and she keeps opening her mouth slightly and i can hear clicking type noises. any ideas?

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      Tyler 6 years ago

      Hi I have a young corn snake, beautiful markings. When I got up this morning she was active as normal. When I got home tonight my boyfriend noticed she looked to be dead, i moved her and she was lifeless. We ate dinner then he saw she was moved. I didn't do it. Neither did he. She is carrying her head bent back and upward. She ate about 3-4 days ago and was fine. She is not active nor will she really straighten her neck. What could it be?

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      webster9 6 years ago

      i have a baby garter, he is active, and eats well. recently i have noticed reddy orange spots developing on the underside of his tail, they started small now they are moving upwards is this normal

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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      I'm sure it was the pet store. They should refund the money or replace the snake, but I wouldn't recommend replacing it, as more than likely whatever killed the one you purchased, has infected the others that it was shipped with.

      Many pet stores will sell reptiles with parasites, unknowingly. I never recommend purchasing from a pet store. The odds of getting a sick animal are high.

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      steve 6 years ago

      so last night i purchased a baby ball . after bringing him home and putting him in his new home. i went back to cheack on him maybe an hour later. and hes was laying upside down on his back dead.

      did i do something wrong in the couple of hours i owned the snake, or is it safe to assume he had health problems leaveing the pet store yesterday.

      there closed today, but ill be calling first thing tommorow morning, hopefully they can make this right ....

      id appreciate an comments on what people may think could have happened.

      thanks guys

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      Whitney 6 years ago from Georgia

      It could be an Abscess that needs to be drained.

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      Ryan 6 years ago

      I have a red-tail boa that most recently has a large lump on the top of his nose the size of a big gumball. We noticed at first a little pink color that we thought happened when he sheds from rubbing. That seemed to heal, now he has this lump that keeps growing in size. What could it be and how can we help him?

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Jay, have you checked the under tank heater to see if it's still working properly. How about the temps? After 4 years, the UTH start to give out.

      Jeff, I would try bumping the temps a little. She may be chilled and irritable bc the temps aren't right. Are you able to use a clamp light? You may want to try a ceramic heat bulb. They won't give any lighting, just heat. They're pretty good at providing heat.

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      jeff 7 years ago

      also what should i do for heating in the new tank i built for her cause the bottom is made of wood and the sides of plastic so i can not use the heating pad and she never striked before

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      jeff 7 years ago

      the temps are between 80-85 and yes the water dish is big enough for her to soak she has a log and i will try the aspen bedding

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      Jay 7 years ago

      I've changed absolutely nothing in the 4 years I've had her. I always use the same brand bedding of aspen and woodchips and the heatmat I use is still working perfectly. I can't think of a single thing that has changed, even the mice I've fed her the last two times are from the same supplier as the mice I've fed her since I got her.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Jeff, what are teh temps in the enclosure? What is the humidity? Do you have a large enough water bowl for hte snake to soak? Do you try to soak her before a shed? When has she been fed? Has she had the tendency to strike before the shed started getting stuck? Aspen bedding is good to use, as well as a log hide, as the snake can rub against it.

      Jay, What are the temperatures in the tank? Sometimes low or too high temperatures can cause digestion problems. Have you changed anything recently?

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      Jay 7 years ago

      Just a quick comment to include that I'm not the same Jay who had the soil questions. Sorry for any confusion.

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      Jay 7 years ago

      Hi, I've had my Corn Snake for about 4 years now and have never had a problem in feeding or shedding. I keep the viv clean and she gets fresh water every day. However, the last two times I've fed her she's regurgitated the prey item two days after she takes it. It's obviously been digested to a degree, lack of fur on the body shows this. I feed her a mouse once a week, so she has now not had a meal in almost 2 1/2 weeks. I'm not panicking, but I would like to get her to keep a meal down, any suggestions?

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      jeff 7 years ago

      my python just got done shedding and still has the old skin on her neck, head and one eye i was told to mist her an rub her to try and get it off but i can not rub her with out her trying to strike at me any tips will help also i just built her a new tank the bottom is wood and the sides are of that plastic that looks like glass and was wondering how i would do the heating for the new cage what should i do for the bedding and what should i put in the tank branches or what

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Jay, I agree that dirt is not ideal for most snakes. There are a few that need high humidity and dirt is fine for, but there aren't many snakes that really need dirt. Plus, you'll find that in a lot of cases the pet store will house reptiles on improper substrates and in improper housing, altogether. It's hard to trust a pet store with animal care because in so many cases, they don't know what they're talking about.

      What are the temperatures in the tank? What type of snake do you have? Is it your hognose, corn, or a different snake?

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      jay  7 years ago

      iv never sin a snake in soil iv sin a western hognose in sand try aspen its good for sankes that like burrowing my corn snake loves it

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      jay 7 years ago

      i have a ball python i only use a heat lamp but my mum uses a heat pad and a lamp she seems happ enough and is eating very well for a ball python but around 1 or 2 of her scales is slightly white i dont think its scale rot and i see no signs of mites should i also have a heat mat please get back to me thanks

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Most snakes really don't have a burrowing instinct. Most snakes actually do better in aspen bedding versus dirt. Unless the humidity needs to be pretty high, such as with rainbow boas, aspen is generally a preferred substrate.

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      robert 7 years ago

      its called plantation soil its suppose to be for reptiles its suppose to stimulate digging and borwing behavours

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      What type of soil did you purchase?

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      robert 7 years ago

      well i just drove an got some soil from the riptile store its suppose to be good for bedding

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I meant to add that you'll need to measure the temperatures above the hot spot where the under tank heater is with a good thermometer so that you can accurate read the temperature. With a thick bedding like that the snake may not be getting appropriate temperatures.

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      Recycled material will be fine. Just watch out for spoilage. You'll need to change out the material often.

      The under tank heater supplies belly heat that a clamp light can't really produce accurately. As long as the under tank heater is appropriate to the tank size you will be fine. It only needs to cover about 1/3 of the tank, not the entire tank.

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      robert 7 years ago

      its reycled boxes but i put newspaper it it i do have an under tank heater but its like 3 inchs but maybe 6

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I wouldn't recommend dirt. Where did you get it? Did you get it from the yard; things from outside can carry pesticides, herbicides, etc. which can be toxic. Did you buy it from a hardware store; this can be ok as long as it is a natural dirt that doesn't have any fertilizer, compost, perlite (the white balls), or anything else in it. It can be hard buying dirt for reptiles, as there are so many restrictions and things that you have to watch out for.

      Under tank heater is the best way to provide heat for a terrestrial snake or reptile. It is ideal, as they need belly heat to properly digest food.

      I've never heard of boxo. What is it?

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      robert 7 years ago

      wut if u dont have an undertank heater

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      robert 7 years ago

      ok i just went out an bought some of this stuff they call boxo im just woundering is that something good to use or not ???

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      robert 7 years ago

      ok but i live in the middle of no where so dirt is the only thing i can use at the moment is it bad to use dirt

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      Whitney 7 years ago from Georgia

      I wouldn't use dirt. Aspen is a good substrate to use. You can also use tile, paper towels, reptile carpet, and rollout shelf liner. If you opt for a solid substrate, such as paper towels or reptile carpet, make sure that the snake can't get underneath it as you don't want the snake to burn its belly on the under tank heater.