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Pet Snakes provides easy to understand, practical information and facts to help the new snake owner take care of their animals. At Pet Snakes we want to provide information that will help you enjoy your reptile more than ever.

Bad snake shed

At some point almost all snake owners deal with a bad shed. How often it happens depends on several factors such as snakes age, diet, environment, and others. If you have taken care of their husbandry needs and all else is equal they should require no help from you aside from an increase in

humidity and possibly a bath to help loosen things up. Unfortunately no matter how well you might be taking care of the snake sometimes problems with the shed comes up and you’ll need to deal with it. Before we get into how to help fix a bad shed you should read signs your snake is going to shed. It will give you insight into what to look for and expect when it comes time to shed.

Suppose however that your snake is shedding and something isn’t right. For instance instead of coming off in one large piece it is coming off in little sections. That is an indication of a bad shed. There are a few things you can to help it along in the process.

Helping your snake shed
Too little humidity is largely responsible for bad sheds. If you didn’t bother to regulate the humidity at the proper levels for your particular snakes needs now would be a good time to start. If however the shedding process has already begun you might need to take some additional steps. There are several methods to upping the moisture content of the air around the snake. For instance some people say to soak a pillow case in warm water and then put the snake in it, lightly secure the top and place it in its enclosure. Another method is to place your snake in some water anywhere from 1/2 to 3/4 deep as the snake is high. You then cover the container with a lid (not airtight!) and leave it for 20 minutes. Another method is to place the snake in a container full of damp sphagnum (peat) moss with a lid that has an opening it can crawl out of.

Once they’ve spent their time in the container let them crawl through a damp wash cloth as that will help to work the dead skin loose. If you find they haven’t gotten it all after the first time don’t worry. Just give them 24 hours to rest from the whole process and try again later. Depending on the situation it could take 2 or 3 times of doing this extra little bit to get them to shed properly.

Retained eye caps

Retained eye caps - Credit:joecompelreptiles.com
Credit:joecompelreptiles.com

Snakes don’t have great eyesight as it is so a retained eyecap only servers to make it that much worse. If your snake should shed, but its eye cap remains you can try a couple of things. First you can just leave it and be confident it will most likely come off with the next shed. In fact this is the method I most recommend as it is very easy to damage your snakes eyes and since they’ll never complain you’ll never know. But if you insist on doing something to further “aid” the snake in shedding it’s old eyecaps you can… do exactly what I suggested above and leave it alone. If anything make certain to give it a good soaking just before it is time to shed again, but aside from that and upping the humidity in it’s tank don’t do anything else.

Taking care of a bad shed isn’t too hard as you can see. It just takes a little time, effort, and a lot of patience while the process goes on.

  • Kristin

    My Albino Bermese python, which is 11 ft. long, is rolling her head around in her house. The humidity is great, and the heat is where it is suspose to be. But I noticed she has not been climbing, nore as active as usual. Which I know is a sign of shedding. Plus she is yawning, and somewhat aggressive. Which we are leaving her alone. But today I noticed that she is rolling her head around in her house, and all over the floor. It kind of reminds me of a dog with a flea. Is this the very starting point of shedding, or is there something else going on? Please write back. Thank you for your time!!

  • jack

    Make sure he has something to rub against.. Like some rocks and sticks and stuff.
    Anything the skin can get caught on so he can pull it off.

  • THomas

    my blue beauty rat snake had a really bad shed for some reason and took off both the old and the living eye caps
    there is a new scale growing over it now but what should i do?

  • Samandmel

    sam poynton

    my baby corn snake shed yesterday night and i assisted him with the lower part ofhis body, a centimetre or so on the bottom of his tale has still not shed how do i help him get it off .

    ime alittle bit worried as i got told that if he does not shed prperly at the bottom of his tale he may lose it is this true

  • jack

    @Samandmel: I know this is a bit late of a response, but you are correct-if the tail still has some old skin on it, you need to get it off. Use the instructions above, or if you can do so gently and carefully, try to help it “roll” back. Often times with stuck tail shed, just getting it wet is enough to allow it to come right off as she moves through your fingers.

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