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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.

Scale rot in pet snakes


What is scale rot?
Scale rot is a bacterial infection often found in captive reptiles, especially snakes. It is caused by the conditions being too moist and also by improper husbandry practices involving failure to properly clean the animal’s enclosure. Basically they slither around in their own excrement and come down with an infection on their stomachs. Which shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Left untreated and allowed to grow scale rot is fatal, literally eating away at the snake from the outside. If you have a snake with scale rot, or you suspect scale rot get on it right away.

How do you tell if it’s scale rot?

Scale rot

Scale rot will usually initially show up as ulcerations on a snakes belly, reddish brown in color. It will begin to compromise and erode the scales on the snakes underside with large blisters not being uncommon. You shouldn’t confuse a reddish colored belly with a snake preparing to shed as both scale rot and shedding are often marked by red underbellies on many snakes.

Inspecting your snake should be a thrice weekly event where you take an inventory of it to ensure there are no health problems. Snakes won’t tell you they’re hurting so you need to learn to observer for your self.

How to treat scale rot
If you notice the scale rot before blisters begin to form you will often be successful in treating the condition by taking some simple steps.

  1. Get the temperature right
  2. Get the humidity right
  3. Get the tank cleaned up
  4. Use triple anti-biotic ointment (WITHOUT painkiller)
  5. A bath in a betadine solution (10% betadine)

If you don’t catch it until blisters are forming it is necessary to take a trip to the vets. It might even be necessary before they form, but only you know your own snake well enough to know what it needs. You should always err on the side of caution when it comes to dealing with your pets health. That’s why it is always important to chose a vet for your snakes before an emergency happens.

  • Tana

    Wow. This might help.

  • abbie101

    i first noticed my snake in this condition about a week ago.she has four scales that are a brown color so i started to read about the condition and found out that betadine baths are good for it, but what im not sure about is for how long do i do the treatment for should i use it for a couple of months or weeks or just till it clears up i also know she will shed more offen during this time i just dont want to use the betadine for longer than i have too and im not sure how long to use it so can you help :( i really love her and would hate for anything to happen to her

  • Guest

    it first started 5-2-10

  • http://pet-snakes.com Pet Snakes

    The betadine soak is meant to be used until the scale rot clears up, but obviously if it just gets worse or doesn't improve then take it to a vet. Also the betadine is just one aspect of the treatment. If you don't do the rest it probably won't help much.

  • emma

    what would happen if asnakes scale fell of

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  • Hot_StufXx

    can you still hold the snake if it has really bad scale rot?

  • http://pet-snakes.com Pet Snakes

    It would be very painful for the snake.

  • Rabbit

    I have a beautiful 6mo ball python (female) who has scale rot this is the most helpful site I have found and will start treatment today! I will post how she is doing in a few weeks, by the way how long is recovery time?

  • Pingback: Snake scale | Alleverythingr

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