A Cautionary Tale

Small python

Young Children’s Python

After lots of reading and research, and the obligatory licence application, I went looking for available snakes, and soon found exactly what I wanted : He was an eight month old Children’s python, with very nice markings, and I fell for him as soon as I saw him in the shop!

When he came home, he settled in beautifully, eating the second day, and inspecting the cage in a very confident manner. He also accepted being handled right from the start. I thought he was wonderful.

After about six weeks, Fang began to shed. I’d read lots about the importance of a complete shed, checking that the spectacles were completely off, and providing a humid hide, and water, to assist with the shed. Unfortunately, nothing I’d come across at that time said how long a shed should take.

After a few days, when the skin hadn’t moved past his neck, I was a bit concerned, and rang the vet, who said to soak him in warm water, and rub the skin towards the tail. I did this, and it seemed to be hurting the snake, but I was advised to keep doing this for a couple of days, then bring Fang in, if nothing had improved. It didn’t, so off we went to the vet, who checked him out, moistened him, and attempted to get the skin off, with little success.

I was advised to do a little rubbing each day until the shed was complete. After a couple of days, believing the snake was becoming too stressed, I stopped working on the skin, to give him a rest. In the morning, he seemed very limp and unhappy. When I returned home from work that night, my little Fang was dead.

Don’t let this happen to you! A shed shouldn’t take more than a few hours at most to complete. It may take only a few minutes. Make sure your reptile has a rock, or rough wood to help him or her.

If a soak and some gentle rubbing doesn’t complete the shed, go to a vet with experience treating reptiles  immediately, or your snake will suffer!       I’d hate this to happen to anyone else’s snake.

Australian Reptile Vets