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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.

How to bathe a snake

Giving your snake a bath can benefit it in a few ways:

  • Helps with shedding its old skin
  • Kills mites
  • Promote bowel movements

Typically one of the best times to bathe pet snakes is when the animal is at the beginning of the shedding cycle. The belly has turned pinkish and the colors have begun to dull but the eyes have not “greyed” over.

That’s not the only time you can let your snake bathe, but it is a good time to do so. Depending on the species of snake you have and its individual temperament it may or may not appreciate your efforts to give it a bath. Some snakes, such as Anaconda’s will spend a great deal of their time soaking in their cages. As long as you keep their water fresh and clean then giving them a bath in a separate tub that should be fine. Other snakes, such as a Boa Constrictor I own don’t sit around in their water and for those pet snakes a bath is a good idea.

There are a few things you should be careful to avoid when bathing a snake:

  1. Water temperature overly hot or cold – Snakes are extremely sensitive to temperatures. Make the water temperature between 100 and 108 Fahrenheit
  2. Chlorinated water – It will irritate a snakes skin which will lead to other problems.
  3. Leaving the snake unsupervised while it is bathing – In the past I’ve left a snake unsupervised for all of 30 seconds in it’s bath only to find it crawling all over the shower rod. Still don’t know how it got up there but had I been any later it probably would have gotten into a vent.
  4. Bathing them too often – While giving a snake a bath every now and then is good for them excessive bathing is bad. It can cause scale rot, respiratory infection, and even cause difficulty shedding due to it leeching the natural chemicals out of the snake which help the process.

When you put a snake in a bath you need to make sure of two things:

  • Personal safety

    Even for the most docile snake a bath can be traumatic. Always use safe handling procedures with all snakes. Particularly large ones. This is to protect yourself and your snake.
  • What is available to bathe the snake in

    Like anything else you need to have the proper equipment to get the job done. It should be an appropriate size to let the snake move freely, but not so large as to be overwhelming. A wading pool would work for an Anaconda, but would be excessive for a Ball Python.

Once everything is in order put the snake in the bath for 10 to 15 minutes and let it soak and move around. Someone should be watching it the entire time. If it seems especially agitated then take it out, dry it off and return it to its cage. Otherwise just watch to make sure it doesn’t make an escape attempt.

After the snake has been in the water for 10 to 15 minutes dry it off thoroughly and return it to it’s cage or a holding cage. I personally suggest a holding cage because if the snake didn’t go to the bathroom while bathing there is a very good chance it will do so shortly after. Much easier for that to happen in a secondary container than its main living tank.

  • ken

    the information is good to know it’s web sites like these that are great help and thanks i am a ball python owner a new one

  • jeana Syfrett

    my ball python does not spend much time at all in the water bowl he has in his cage i am a little worried about it. is there any way i can make the water time a little funner for him then him trying to find a way out of his tank? he hurt him self doing so last night and i fear if he continues then he may hurt him self worse or kill himself. he seems boarde of his tank…

    any advise email me

  • Jeana Syfrett

    ken does your snake give you problems batheing? or just playing in a soak pool in its cage?

  • Fraser Short

    ive had a jungle carptet python for about 2 months now (estimate its age at just over a year old), and since ive had it i only know of it using the washroom once. which was moments after the first bath i gave it. i have tried bathing it multiple times since with no results… any suggestions or is it time for the vet?

  • jiro

    I know that my boa enjoys being handled every so often.  If your ball python is docile enough for you, you could take him/her out of the tank and hold it. 

  • Babyblues_5

    I have a ball python who doesn’t like to come out of his hiding rock. He was to shed his skin last week, but still hasn’t shed his skin yet. What do you suggest?

  • As long as your temps and humidity are good there shouldn’t, in most cases, be an issue. Remember it takes a few weeks for them to shed. They’ll get all dull, with their eyes blued over and then clear up for a few days to a week before they actually shed.

  • Acb544

    everytime my snake shead it always leaves skin over its eyes how do i get that off

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