A ball python stuck shed is often harmless.
Many times you can just leave it and it will come off on its own.
But not always.
That is why it is important to know what you can do to help your ball python get rid of its stuck shed.
It is also good to know some ways to help your snake shed more smoothly, to avoid stuck sheds in the first place.
Keep reading for help with both. We will cover the common causes of a stuck shed, so you know what you can do to minimize the chances of them happening, and we will cover ways to remove a stuck shed.
Table of Contents
- 1 Ball Python Stuck Shed
- 1.1 Causes Of A Stuck Shed In Ball Pythons
- 1.2 How To Get A Stuck Shed Off A Ball Python
- 1.3 Do You Need To Help Your Ball Python With Its Stuck Shed?
- 2 Stuck Shed On Ball Python: Final Thoughts
Ball Python Stuck Shed
Many factors can cause a stuck shed in ball pythons. The most common cause is poor humidity levels. Other reasons include skin infection, malnutrition, improper temperature, skin parasites, etc.
The best way to help a ball python with a stuck shed is to soak it in a tub of warm water (80° to 85° F) a few times a day. Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at the causes of a stuck shed and how you can help your snake, if it suffers a stuck shed.
Causes Of A Stuck Shed In Ball Pythons
Here are some of the main reasons a ball python may be unable to shed properly:
Humidity levels at should be at 70% to 85% for a shedding ball python. Low humidity can cause your shedding ball python to get dehydrated, which can impact its shedding and result in a poor or stuck shed.
Spraying the enclosure with water or soaking your pet in warm water can help remove its stuck skin. Soak your ball python in just enough water (1-2 inches), taking care it does not drown.
You need to repeat the process several times a day. Make sure to supervise your snake while it is soaking.
Injuries Or Skin Infections
Old scar tissues or skin infections like scale rot can also cause stuck sheds in ball pythons. Examine your snake for ball python skin problems, such as infections and injuries.
You might also see other signs like dry, cracked or wrinkled skin, lumps, bumps, etc. If these are present, seek help from an experienced vet who can guide you.
External parasites like ticks and fleas may not be as common in ball pythons as they are in cats and dogs. However, in the rare event that your pet does have these parasites, then they could affect shedding.
Ball pythons also suffer from parasites like Ophionyssus mites, which can cause their shedding skin to remain stuck. If you notice these parasites, please take your pet to the vet for treatment. They can also result in severe anemia if not treated promptly.
A ball python with improper diet or a lack of appetite could suffer from malnourishment. This too can impact its ability to shed normally. Malnutrition often results in dry and cracked skin in ball pythons. Such skin may remain stuck and not shed normally.
Low humidity is not the only husbandry factor that impacts a ball python’s shedding. Temperature also plays key roles in this natural phenomenon.
The ideal temperature range for ball pythons is between 80° and 85° F on the warm side and between 75°and 80° F on the cool side. You can additionally provide a basking area with a temperature range of 88° to 92° F.
How To Get A Stuck Shed Off A Ball Python
If your ball python has a stuck shed, you naturally want to help your snake. And you should. Here are some ways to help a ball python shed.
Treat Underlying Issues
Once you determine the root cause of the stuck shed in your ball python, take the steps to eliminate it. For example, if your snake has scale rot, try bathing it in betadine solution or applying some Neosporin ointment.
For skin mites or parasites, your vet may recommend medication to eliminate them. Once the underlying issue is resolved, the snake’s stuck skin should also come off.
Provide A Humidity Box In The Enclosure
Since low humidity is usually the cause of stuck shed in ball pythons, provide your pet with a humidity box in its enclosure to use whenever it wants during shedding.
You can buy one from a pet store or make it at home using a closed plastic container large enough for a coiled snake. The container should have an opening large enough for your snake to enter and some holes so it can breathe.
Add a layer of moist moss, such as sphagnum or peat, inside the humidity box. Keep spraying this layer to maintain humidity. You can also add some moist tissue papers in the box but they tend to dry out quickly. The higher humidity should aid in the removal of the stuck skin completely.
Soak Your Ball Python In Warm Water
The best way to help your ball python remove its stuck skin is to soak or bathe it in lukewarm water for 30 to 60 minutes a few times a day. The water temperature should be between 80° and 85° F.
Fill up a large container with 1 to 2 inches of warm water. Ensure that your ball python is comfortable and monitor it throughout the soaking process. If the water becomes cold, gently add some more warm water after removing the cooler water.
You can gently scrub your pet by hand to remove its stuck skin. Do not rub vigorously or you might do more damage.
Some pythons may need repeated soaking over the next few days. You can also gently scrub the dead scales off with your hand. If scrubbing gently does not work, then try using shed aid sprays specially designed for shedding reptiles.
Use Reptile Shed Aid Sprays
Pet manufacturers have created special reptile shed aid liquids that aid in the removal of stuck skin in shedding reptiles. Here is one we recommend.
Spray your ball python with this liquid after it has shed most of its skin. Shed aid sprays typically contain vitamin E, jojoba oil, and other skin conditioners that remove dead, dried scales gently and smoothly. In most snakes, the shed skin loosens and falls off after three four uses.
Do You Need To Help Your Ball Python With Its Stuck Shed?
If only a small bit of skin is stuck, you can leave it to your ball python to handle the matter. Raising the enclosure’s humidity levels or soaking your pet should also help.
If the stuck skin is around your snake’s head and eyes, then you must help it get it off. Also, if the skin is heavily stuck with several layers hanging, then your snake is probably dehydrated.
Again, soaking your pet should do the trick. You may need to scrub gently or spray some reptile shed aid spray to remove the heavily stuck layers.
Stuck Shed On Ball Python: Final Thoughts
A ball python stuck shed can be caused by various factors, such as inadequate humidity, injuries or skin infections, parasites, malnutrition, and improper temperature.
To help a ball python with a stuck shed, you can try to address the underlying issues, provide a humidity box in the enclosure, soak the snake in warm water, and use reptile shed aid sprays.
By taking these steps, you can effectively assist your ball python in removing its stuck shed and promoting healthy shedding in the future. Helping your snake with things like a stuck shed is an important part of ball python husbandry.