How to Help Your Snake Shed his Skin

Yellow and Black Snake

The process of shedding skin is a natural process for all reptiles. Skin shedding, also known as ecdysis, occurs as the snake grows. Many factors affect how and how often a snake will shed his skin.

Adults slough off old skin to be replaced with new, fresh skin every month. Whereas, younger snakes will shed their skin several times a month.

However, if your snake is shedding improperly or less than he should, it may be an indication of a potentially dangerous underlying health issue. Keep reading to find out how you can help your snake shed his skin.

How your snake sheds his skin and how often lies dependent on a snake’s reproductive status, nutrition, health, age, species as well as the humidity and temperature of his ambient.

Poor humidity, temperature, improper lighting, husbandry, nutrition and health can prevent a snake from shedding his skin properly.

A healthy snake will shed his skin in one single piece, but a snake in poor condition will shed his skin in pieces.

Dysecdysis on an Unhealthy Snake's Skin

Improper or incomplete shedding is known as dysecdysis, which indicates your snake is in poor health and may need veterinary attention.

Causes for improper shedding or dysecdysis include:

  • improper housing humidity
  • improper housing temperature
  • inadequate lighting
  • over-handling
  • malnutrition
  • dermatitis (A skin condition that causes dermal inflammation)
  • trauma
  • infections
  • external parasites

The first thing all snake owners should do when they notice their snake is shedding improperly is to visit the veterinarian. Only a professional can determine the underlying cause of your snake’s condition.

Dysecdysis in Snakes

Once you have ruled out underlying health problems, you can begin looking for ways to help your snake shed his skin at home.

You can aid your snake’s shedding by placing your pet in a shallow bath of lukewarm water and allow him to soak for several minutes. The soaking process will loosen the dead skin and will be easier for your snake to slough off. Always monitor your snake during the soaking process to prevent possible drowning.  

Another safer way to aid your snake in the shedding process is by wrapping him in layers of damp towels. Crawling through the wet towels will loosen and soften the dead skin in a gentle manner.

Never attempt to peel off your snake’s dead skin as this could result in trauma to your pet and aggressive behavior towards you.

Garter Snake with Bright Red Scales

Shedding skin, is a healthy process and it all begins with you. How you feed, house and look after your snake will determine the status of his health.

Always consult a veterinarian to ensure you are looking after your snake properly and to rule out any hidden causes for his poor skin shedding. Veterinary professionals can also offer assistance to snake owners and should always be consulted to ensure your snake’s well-being.

Bonus: Love reptiles and want more? Check here and here.


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