Vet Care for Dogs, Cats and Many Other Animals

Snake Health: Symptoms To Look For

by Calvin Newman

Like with all animals, snakes can sometimes get sick. If your snake is feeling under the weather, there are some warning signs he or she will exhibit. In some cases, there is something you might be able to change about your snake's environment to make it healthier, but there are other cases where you may need to bring your snake to a vet with experience taking care of snakes.


Pay close attention to your snake's behavior. A snake that is healthy will engage in consistent behavior, while a snake that is behaving out of the ordinary might be confused or may be sick and trying to protect itself. Sick snakes will try to hide or bury themselves. Pay attention to how much your snake normally eats. If your snake begins to eat a lot less than normal, this can be a warning sign that there's something wrong with it. 


Some snakes that are imported from the wild can suffer from a failure to thrive. This is when the stress of being in a new environment or the new food being fed to the snake causes it to not want to eat. These type of snakes will often pass away and you'll definitely need help from a vet who has worked with these types of snakes. Your snake shouldn't vomit.


The skin of a healthy snake is bright and shiny. If your snake is dehydrated, it will have outwardly directed folds. You may also notice:

  • Blisters
  • Missing scales
  • Swelling
  • Lacerations
  • Ulcers
  • Burns
  • Discharges

If you notice any injuries or anything unusual about your snake's skin, contact a veterinarian hospital for help. Shedding is a normal behavior and typically occurs every 14 days. Smaller snakes shed their entire skin at once, while larger snakes might shed their skin in sections. Normally, a snake should have clear eyes. However, when snakes are shedding their skins, they'll sometimes have eyes that aren't clear. If your snake is having a difficult time shedding or has bits and pieces of skin still attached to him or her, this is a sign of a problem.


Two to three days after your snake has been fed, he or she should make a dropping. If the droppings are runny or red, contact your vet. If your snake is seen by a vet periodically, you'll be less likely to have a medical surprise with your snake.

For more information, reach out to animal hospitals like the Sepulveda Animal Hospital.