Shedding Snakes

Snakes and shedding, oh my! While a snake shedding its skin can be impressive, sometimes a poor shedding can indicate a health problem.

If you are the owner of a pet snake, you are probably aware that your pet sheds its skin in a process called ecdysis. This shedding is a natural process that is generally associated with growth. Shedding patterns can differ greatly from snake to snake due to species, age, health, nutrition, environment and reproductive status. In general terms, however, when a snake does shed, it should all be in one single piece.

Improper snake shedding is called dysecdysis, and you can tell if it’s a problem because some fragments of old skin will cling to your pet’s body. Also, there will be chunks of old skin lying around, versus one solid, continuous piece.

This type of improper shedding is commonly linked to poor nutrition and environment. Illness caused by an infection or external parasites can also cause dysecdysis. As for environment, his “home” might be too hot or cold, or the humidity in its cage might not be right. (Most snakes require an environment with 50 to 70 percent humidity, for example.) For the best condition for your pet, research your particular breed to be sure you’re meeting his requirements.

When it comes to removing the dead patches leftover on your snake’s body, place your snake in lukewarm water. The water can help to dislodge the patches from the body.

Sometimes an improper shedding indicates a serious illness. So pay extra close attention to your reptilian friend, and talk to your veterinarian about possible causes.

Do you have a pet snake? Did it ever have shedding problems? Tell us about it in the comment section!

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