Snake - Skin and Shedding
Your Healthy Snake: Skin and Shedding
According to Kasey, Zen Habitats Animal Care Manager and Certified Veterinary Technician, your snake’s skin and shedding can be an indicator of its overall health.
Q: When should my snake shed?
Kasey: “Snakes can shed between 4-12 times a year, this will be dependent on the size, the age, the species and the environment it lives in.”
Q: How long should it take for them to shed?
Kasey: “The shedding process takes about 1-2 weeks depending on the age and size of the snake.”
Q: What does a healthy shed look like?
Kasey: “A healthy shed should come off in one inside-out, tubular piece, with eye caps intact. When your snake is ready to shed you may notice that their skin may have a blueish-grey tint and the eyes may look slightly clouded over. It is best not to handle your snake during this time as it can be stressful for the animal.”
Q: What does an unhealthy shed look like?
Kasey: “An unhealthy shed may come off your snake in multiple pieces and leaving retained shed present. Snakes lack eyelids and instead have spectacles (eye caps), if your snake is going through dysecdysis and the spectacles are retained it could eventually lead to blindness. I like to look over my snakes shed to confirm the eye caps have come off.”
Q: Is there anything I can do to help my snake shed?
Kasey:“The first thing to do is to understand the environmental needs of your snake species. If it is a species that comes from the rainforest, make sure they have appropriate humidity needs, or if it comes from the desert, etc. If I have a snake that isn’t producing a good shed, I will soak them every other day in enclosure temperature water for about 10 minutes.”
Q: Does any kind of shed indicate that I should bring my snake to the veterinarian?
Kasey:“For moderate to severe cases of retained shed veterinarian consultation may be indicated. Remaining shed can harbor parasites and/or bacteria leading to nasty infections. Intact segments can restrict blood flow and eventually lead to death if not treated. DO NOT pull their shed off yourself, this can damage the underlying tissues and especially the eyes.”
(This content is informational only and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your veterinary professional)