Chances are you will have to bathe your snake at some point.
In fact, it might be a good idea to do so occasionally, to prevent pests.
But in many cases, it isn’t necessary at all.
And you certainly don’t need to bathe a snake as often as many owners seem to believe.
If you do need to give it a bath, you’ll want to know how to bathe a snake properly.
Doing it incorrectly could cause your snake a lot of stress. It could even result in illness, injury, or death.
Keep reading to learn exactly how to give a snake a bath. We’ll also cover the instances when it makes sense to bathe a snake, so that you know if you even need to do it in the first place.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Bathe A Snake
- 1.1 Reasons To Give Your Snake A Bath
- 1.2 Bathing Your Snake: Step By Step Procedure
- 1.3 Bathing A Snake: Related Questions
- 2 Bathing Your Snake: Final Thoughts
How To Bathe A Snake
Most snakes do not like baths. It causes them a lot of stress and they may exhibit aggressive behavior if you don’t do things properly. That is why it is very important to know how you should bathe a snake.
It is also important to know when you should give you snake a bath. Because there’s a good chance you don’t even need to. To know when to bathe your snake, let’s look at the benefits of doing so. If your snake needs any of the following benefits, then it makes sense to bathe it.
Reasons To Give Your Snake A Bath
Many owners bathe their snakes when they don’t even need it. But there are some definite benefits to giving your snake a bath. If your snake needs any of the following, you should g ahead and treat it to a bath.
Baths can help you get rid of mites and other parasites that may embed themselves in between the scales of your snake. These parasites can cause a lot of diseases, including dangerous ones like snake septicemia, which is why you should check your snake for them from time to time.
If parasites are an issue with your snake, we advise giving your snake a proper bath once a month, as a proactive measure to prevent any parasite infection in the future. But if you keep the enclosure clean and make sure the water is always fresh, pests should not be an issue.
Snakes often drink some of the bathwater and use it to moisturize their dry skin to some extent. Hydration can also prevent many health issues including constipation. If your snake is dehydrated and is not drinking enough water, you could try giving it a bath.
Eliminate Dead Skin
Baths can also get rid of hardened shed skin. Sometimes, snakes do not molt completely and little pieces of dead skin may remain stuck to their bodies. If left untreated, this dead skin could harden, causing problems in the future.
Warm water is known to facilitate bowel movement in snakes. The combined effect of warm water with the natural slithering movement of the snake is usually enough to cure constipation.
Disinfect Freshly Captured Snakes
Snakes that are freshly caught from the wild usually carry a lot of germs and parasites. If these snakes are allowed to interact with other snakes, they may spread infection and disease. For that reason, we advise bathing them before you do anything else with them.
Eliminate Mold Outbreaks
If there is a mold outbreak in your snakes’ enclosure, it is very important to bathe them to get rid of any fungal spores stuck to their bodies. This is important to minimize the possibility of mold spreading and to prevent a recurrence.
Now that you know the benefits of giving snakes a bath, let’s take a look at how to give them one. As mentioned before, baths cause snakes a lot of stress, so make sure that you do not attempt to give them one unless absolutely necessary.
Bathing Your Snake: Step By Step Procedure
Before we get into the procedure for bathing your snake, we want to briefly list out some materials you will need.
What You Need
To bathe a snake, you will need the following materials.
A large plastic box or container is useful for bathing small snakes (up to 2-3 feet in length). For larger snakes, you can use a bathtub instead.
Make sure that your container is not too small. You don’t want it to cause the snake to be all cramped up and irritated. At the same time, ensure that the container is not so big that the snake can move around freely, because this causes them to become restless.
If the objective of giving your snake a bath is to cure its constipation, then you will want a big box or container to put the snake in after the bath. Make sure that the plastic container has some sort of a lid to prevent the snake from escaping the bath. You will need to drill some holes in the lid for ventilation.
Bathwater should be in the temperature range of 75° to 80° F (26° to 30° Celsius). Please be careful about the temperature of the water. Snakes are cold-blooded animals and cannot regulate their own body temperature.
If the water is too cold it could cause respiratory issues. If it is too hot, it may result in brain damage.
Note that most snakes are fine with plain tap water, but certain species of snakes (like ball pythons) have sensitive skin. You might want to use de-chlorinated/bottled or distilled water for such snakes.
Object For Coiling
Snakes need some sort of object around which they can coil during the bath. This could be a rock, a thick log of wood, a small rubber wheel, etc. This will make your snake feel safe and secure during its bath and also aid in exfoliating its skin to get rid of residual shed.
Blanket To Cover Up The Container (Optional)
Most snakes like it dark and a blanket may help calm them down by making the bathing container cooler and darker.
This could be diluted liquid soap, a mild pet shampoo, dish soap, or antiseptic solution (Betadine, etc.) depending on the purpose of the bath.
Steps To Bathing A Snake
Follow these steps to make the bathing process as painless as possible.
Start by filling the bathing container with lukewarm water up to a height that almost submerges the back of the snake. Make sure that your snake is able to touch its belly to the floor of the container. This helps them feel secure and also allows them to raise their head above water to breathe while resting.
Now add in the object around which your snake is going to coil and then the snake. The snake will try its best to escape during the bath and this is completely natural. After all, snakes are not used to taking baths in the wild. It should calm down after a few minutes.
After waiting for around 5 to 10 minutes, you can add the bathing solution to clean and disinfect your snake’s skin. We recommend waiting for at least 5 minutes, because most of the time, snakes drink some of the bathwater in the beginning and you don’t want your pet to ingest the bathing chemicals.
After your snake has soaked in the bath for around 15 to 20 minutes (soak up to 1 hour for mites), it is time to pull it out of the bath. Please note that your snake could be very agitated and angry so you must handle it with utmost caution.
If your snake is exhibiting aggressive behavior, you need to drill holes in the container to drain out the water and leave the snake in the semi-dry container until it calms down.
If your snake continues to exhibit aggressive behavior, contact an animal expert immediately. Check out the following video on how to bathe a snake.
Bathing A Snake: Related Questions
The following are some common questions related to bathing a snake. If you have additional questions, please ask them in the comments below.
Should you bathe a snake?
Some snakes love baths and will indicate so by soaking in their water dish. You need to bathe your snake if it has mites or if there is a mold outbreak in its enclosure, or any of the other reasons given above. Otherwise, we don’t recommend doing it more than once a month.
Can I wash my snake with soap?
Your snake does not really need any special soap. However, you may use a mild antiseptic solution like Betadine or diluted Dawn dish soap for bathing, especially if it has mites.
When should I bathe my ball python?
You need to bathe your ball python if it is constipated, has stuck shed skin, or has developed mites.
How long should I soak my snake for mites?
If your snake has a severe mite infestation, you need to soak it for several hours in Dawn dish soap or antiseptic solution. In the meantime, you should also clean its cage and discard all infected items.
Bathing Your Snake: Final Thoughts
Bathing a snake causes it stress. For that reason, you only want to do it, if it is absolutely necessary. Ad it is necessary far less often that you probably think.
We gave you a list of problems that might require a bath to fix. Apart from those issues, there is not really ever any reason to bathe a snake. It might make sense to give it a regular bat to prevent parasites, but if you clean the enclosure regularly and provide clean water, there should be no need for this either.