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Signs Your Snake is Happy and Healthy

Signs Your Snake is Happy and Healthy

It can sometimes be tricky to tell if your snake is happy and healthy. They aren’t as outgoing or expressive as other pets may be, and if you’re not paying close attention, you could miss some signs that they are unwell. By providing a stress free environment, regular food and water and the correct habitat temperature, you can ensure your serpentine friend is happy and healthy.

In this blog post, I’ll explain signs to look out for in a healthy snake and the best way to tell if your snake is ill or needs veterinary care.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, small and exotic pet vet, posing with a bunny patient

Dr. Bobby Ortiz, M.V.B.

Dr Bobby Ortiz, aka 'Dogtor Bob', is a small animal and exotic veterinarian based in Dublin. He has a strong interest in Small Mammal (rabbits, guinea pigs, ferrets) and Reptile medicine and surgery.

He grew up in a family of avid animal lovers, which led him to work as an Aquarist at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific in California. It was there he decided he wanted to become a vet, and specialise in exotic animals, that needed the same care and medical attention that dogs and cats are given.

He lives with his wife and Brittany Spaniel Bodhi, and has dreams to build a new tropical marine fish tank in the near future!

Your Snake is Healthy If…

  • They are eating and drinking normally
  • They are comfortable being handled and may flicker their tongue, which is normal
  • Good muscle tone and aware of environment
  • No discoloration, swelling or ulcers present on scales
  • Vent is clean and free of any matted excretions
  • No discharge from the mouth, eyes or nostrils
  • Clear, alert eyes
  • Body is in good condition
  • Droppings appear normal; check 2-3 days after being fed
close up of happy and healthy pet snake

Your Snake is Happy If…

  • He moves slowly when handled; snakes move quickly when stressed to avoid danger. If he is comfortable around you, he will be relaxed when picked up.
  • Doesn’t hyper-focus too often; snakes who feel threatened will focus on what is in front of them such as prey or predator. It often happens naturally, but if you find they are always hyper-focusing around you or someone else, it could be a sign they are not comfortable around you just yet.
  • He is Hiding: Snakes only hunt every few weeks and spend the rest of the time hiding; if your snake is hiding somewhere in its enclosure and still comes out for feeding time, he is probably content and happy in his surroundings.
Dr Bobby Ortiz handling a corn snake in a veterinary office

Call a Vet If…

  • You notice rapid weight loss or changed appetite
  • Sudden behaviour change
  • Discharge from his nose or mouth
  • He has trouble shedding
  • His droppings are runny or contain traces of blood
  • Wheezy breathing sound
  • Repeatedly regurgitates food

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