In this article we will explore three ways to tell if your pet snake is sick. Unlike people or some other animals our snakes have no verbal way of telling us if they are sick or injured.
Is your snake acting strange?
A reader sent in two video clips of her ball python. In one the snake was a typical docile ball python, but in the other it was hissing and striking. The difference in behavior was as clear as night and day. It doesn’t take a medical genius to realize something had changed and not for the better. Turns out her snake had a mild case of mouth rot. I’m not suggesting it’s always this simple to tell when your snake is sick but a major change in behavior might point to a health problem. But if you don’t have some way of comparing your snake’s behavior how can you expect to notice when it is acting differently than normal? That’s a reason why interacting with pet snakes is important.
Is your snake eating?
A snake that isn’t eating is cause for concern. Yes, many snakes will go through phases where they don’t eat but they won’t lose a large amount of weight and they’ll otherwise appear healthy and content. If your pet isn’t eating and is losing a noticeable amount of weight that is reason to start checking things out. Start by eliminating things like husbandry issues to see if that doesn’t correct the problem. If you’ve investigated and corrected all the reasons your pet snake isn’t eating then contact a veterinarian in your area who specializes in exotic animals for additional help.
Is your snake showing signs of dehydration?
One of the most obvious signs of dehydration is failure of your pet snake to shed it’s old skin in one piece. Other evidence includes sunken eyes and skin that stays “tented” when pinched together. In a properly hydrated snake the skin should return to normal almost immediately. If the animal is dehydrated it is important to get it hydrated. It is beyond the scope of this article to give medical advise in treating dehydration but forcing fluids into a dehydrated snake can cause shock and major system failure leading to death. If your pet is dehydrated seek medical assistance from a qualified veterinarian.