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
- 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.