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How to Remove Stuck Shed From A Snake

How to Remove Stuck Shed From A Snake

How to Help Your Snake with Stuck Shed and Prevent Future Issues

Shedding is a natural body process that happens when a snake outgrows their skin. However, sometimes the shedding process doesn't go as planned, resulting in stuck shed. This article will guide you on how to help your snake shed smoothly and step to take to prevent future problems.

Helping Your Snake Shed:


  • The most common and effective method is a luke-warm soak. Prepare a shallow container with room temperature to lukewarm water (do not exceed your snake’s ideal warm side temperature!) Let your snake sit in the water for 15-20 minutes.
  • Gently Assist: After soaking, you can very gently run a damp washcloth along your snake’s body from head to tail, going the direction of the scales and never against. Avoid pulling, picking or forcing any of the stuck pieces, as this can injure your snake.
  • Repeat Soaks: If the shed isn't fully removed after one soak, you can repeat the process in a day or two. Applying a natural oil like coconut or vegetable oil to areas  of stuck shed may help soften and lubricate it, along with increasing enclosure humidity may help the snake remove any remaining shed themselves. 

Increase Enclosure Humidity:

  • For mild stuck shed, a temporary increase in overall enclosure humidity can sometimes be enough to remedy the issue. This is much less stressful for your snake, as they are not being removed from their enclosure and forcibly handled to remove the shed. 

Preventing Stuck Shed:

If your snake is having issues shedding on a regular basis, it is important to check your husbandry to identify any potential issues that you can resolve. 

  • Maintain Proper Humidity: Snakes need different humidity levels depending on their species. Research the ideal humidity range for your snake and ensure their enclosure offers areas of high humidity where the snake can retreat to when they are about to shed. A digital probe hygrometer is very helpful to monitor the humidity level.
  • Provide Rough Surfaces: Include rough surfaces like rocks, bark, or textured hides in your snake's enclosure. Snakes will utilize these surfaces to help them shed. 
  • Monitor Water Availability: Ensure your snake has a large water dish that is big enough for them to submerge in.
  • Do Not Handle Your Snake During Shed: Avoid handling your snake while they are in shed or actively shedding. Disturbing the shedding process may stress your snake and prevent them from shedding completely. 

When to See a Vet:

Stuck shed can be an indicator that your snake isn’t feeling good enough to properly shed themselves, or is having other health issues. If you notice other issues alongside stuck shed such as damaged scales, sores, and/or discoloration, this can be a sign of an infection called scale rot, and must be treated by a veterinarian promptly. A lack of feces or straining to defecate can indicate hydration issues which can also lead to stuck shed; a vet can assist your snake to become properly hydrated and help move along any hardened feces. If you have any concerns about your snake’s health, reaching out to a reptile savvy vet is never a bad idea!

To find a knowledgeable exotic vet in your area, check out

By understanding the shedding process and implementing these tips, you can help your snake shed smoothly and avoid the discomfort of stuck shed. Remember, providing a healthy environment with proper humidity and the access to fresh water at all times can go a long way in preventing shedding issues for your snake!

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