Health & Hygiene for Rat Snakes
Rat Snakes are a hardy species, so are generally quiet resilient, and with a good diet and a cleaning routine will remain quite healthy.
As your snake grows, its old skin become too tight and worn. A new skin awaits just below the old. As a snake gets ready to shed, its eyes will turn a milky blue over the course of several days, and the body color will start to dull and develop a whitish sheen. Once the eyes have cleared, the snake is ready to shed. To assure proper hydration, soak the snake in warmish water after the eyes clear; this should enable to snake to shed easily within the next 24 hours.
These are small black parasites that live on your Rat Snake and feed on their blood. If affected by mites, they will be visible around the eyes, mouth and under his scales. Symptoms will include lethargy and loss of appetite. If mites are discovered, bathe your Rat Snake immediately in warm water. Remove all the contents from the vivarium and full disinfect. Replace substrate with kitchen roll and keep furnishing to a minimum. You will need to use a mite treatment to rid the tank of all mites, and medical attention is recommended.
Bacterial infections are typically caused by poor cage conditions, low temperatures or too much humidity, but they can also transfer between snakes. Symptoms include a wheezy breathing sound, excessive saliva and nasal discharge. Mild infections will generally go away once living conditions are improved, but veterinary advise is recommended for serious infections.
If you are concerned about your Rat Snake's health, our Pet Care Advisors are on hand to help, although veterinary attention may be recommended.
This may occur if your Rat Snake is handled too soon after eating, or if their food is too large, although it may also be a sign of digestive problems. If regurgitation occurs, monitor it closely for other symptoms. If your Rat Snake repeatedly regurgitates it's meal, shows signs of excessive weight loss or shows any other signs that are worrying, seek medical attention.
Cleaning the Habitat
Rat Snakes generally require little cleaning as they rare defecate. Remove feces and soiled bedding as necessary, and if your snake defecates in its water bath, it should be disinfected straight away. A full deep clean every four weeks, with a mild disinfectant will ensure your Rat Snake remains healthy.
Hand washing is very important when owning any reptile. Washing your hands before and after handling your Rat Snake will help keep you and your pet healthy. If you wash your hands before handling you reduce the risk of passing anything on to your pet.
As with all reptiles, Rat Snakes have the potential to carry pathogens such as salmonella so children under five should not handle them and hands should be thoroughly washed before and after handling.
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