Everything currently living on the face of the earth can die. As humans die or are killed in one way or the other, through terminal diseases like diabetes, cancer and so on, so also animals die of natural causes as well as diseases. I mean that is why we have the vet doctors right?
Why Did My Snake Die
Death is inevitable but some can be prevented if the cause was known. Before a creature eventually dies, some things could have happened. Some things could have led to death. I am talking about symptoms. Let us say for example your pet dog, Lucy died. Lucy couldn’t have just died, there has to be an explanation for the cause of its death right? Was it sick with some dog disease?
WAS IT KILLED OR IT DIED OF OLD AGE?
I like pets, as a matter of fact, pets are like human companions. In most homes, you are likely to see either a cat or a dog. You could carry out a survey on your own and see for yourself. Well, some very few people like to keep other animals as pets like birds, monkeys, or even rats. Back in our youth days, I remember vividly a kind of movie, where a boy had a rat as a pet, weird but unique. If you have watched “Harry Potter”, you should be familiar with that.
I have also seen a set of animal lovers, who like to keep a collection, which is different species of that animal- horse, elephant, snake and so on. This article solely deals with this category of people, in this sense the snake keepers. Here, you get to learn a whole lot of things on how to keep your snake safe.
Let us dive in.
WHAT CAN CAUSE SNAKE DEATH?
As I have written earlier, a creature cannot just die; something or some things have to contribute to its death. I have researched a lot on the possible things that can cause the death of your snake and I have collated a list of them.
- Diseases and infections
- Skin problem
What the snake takes in can terminate its life. A snake takes food in through its mouth, so if it tries to eat a very large food, it can choke on the food. This is rare because a snake has the tendency to open its mouth so wide that it can swallow an antelope.
However, this also depends on the type of snake. Know what you feed your snake. Apparently, the only means by which you can certify that the food you are giving your snake is disease-free is to spend some money on running tests. Waste of time, some would say! Well, like my mentor would say, “you got to do what you got to do”.
Snakes also get infections from food if it is contaminated. The animal you are feeding it, have you certified it is disease-free? If you have not then, you might end up with a dead snake. Healthy eating is also as important in animals.
I get it sometimes that when you care about a pet too much, you have the tendency to overfeed it. Well, probably that is how or why your snake died. Overfeeding can lead to choking which would definitely lead to death if not attended to immediately.
ILLNESSES, DISEASES, AND INFECTIONS
This is likely the cause of your snake’s death because most snakes die by a disease or infection. Just so, you know, we have a ton of diseases and infections in the world today. There are some still being researched on.
Let us check out the most common diseases and infections snakes die from. Maybe you can find out what (the kind of disease) killed your snake so early.
In the first place, before we dive into the diseases that can cause a snake to die, you have to know the difference between a healthy snake and an unhealthy snake.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF A HEALTHY SNAKE?
A healthy snake has clear eyes, clear nose, and mouth. Body rounded and full. Always active and alert to what is going around it. Eats regularly and has healthy skin. If your snake shows these few signs, then you do not have much to worry about.
If you notice signs such as wrinkled skin, vomiting and discharging in the areas of the mouth and nose, lethargy, unusual feces and a drastic drop in appetite, then you have a lot to worry about. My advice is to visit the vet doctor for diagnosis and treatment if treatable.
Now that we have seen the difference in a healthy snake and an unhealthy one. Let us continue our dive into the diseases that can cause a snake to meet its demise.
Another kind of sickness that affects snakes is indigestion. When a snake takes in food and the food does not digest, it causes regurgitation. This is where we have to mention the importance and essentiality of the environmental condition of the snake. Temperature and humidity affect snakes greatly. Make sure both conditions are regularized to suit the body system of your snake.
Indigestion is usually caused by cool temperature. Therefore, to solve this problem, try to raise the temperature of the enclosure a bit by making use of some heating tools. Other causes of indigestion include intestinal diseases, severe internal bleeding and so on.
You should be familiar with what we call blister. A kind of outgrowth on the skin usually painful starts small but increases in size later. It is also common in snakes, usually starts on the underside due to some environmental factors. Snakes kept in a moldy, grimy, dirty or excessively soggy substrate have the likely tendency to have fluid-filled blisters, which can be so discomforting to your snake.
So, simple enough, keep your pet snake away from a dirty, moldy or over-moist home. Make sure you clean out the feces and urates regularly. Prevention is less stressful than a cure. Blisters start appearing on the underside of the snake, you would only see a few at first. It subsequently increases in number, spreading to mouth, cloaca, and nose which could be really painful and life-threatening. If nothing is done on time, death is inevitable.
One or two blisters can be treated domestically at home by:
- Puncture the blister gently with a properly sterilized needle, preferably new.
- Use clean cotton wool or gauze to clean off and absorb the fluid coming out.
- Clean daily and regularly with cotton wool and hydrogen peroxide.
- An anti-infection salve should be applied.
While treating the blister-infected snake, make sure you separate it from other snakes because it might be contagious. Don’t try to treat on your own if the condition has escalated and they are a lot of blisters on your snake’s skin. See a renowned and qualified vet for immediate treatment.
There might be a parasite inside your snake causing it a lot of discomforts. We have two kinds of parasites, ectoparasite an endoparasite. Ectoparasites live outside the body, most likely on the skin while endoparasites live inside the body of the host. These endoparasites are very deadly as they are not noticeable. They can’t be easily spotted. It is advisable to separate a newly acquired snake because you don’t know whether it carries a parasite or not.
A snake can contact or get an endoparasite through its meal or from another creature. So, you might be the reason why your snake died. Just saying! Maybe you fed it some parasite-infected pinkies.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOUR SNAKE IS INFECTED?
When you start seeing signs like Disgorging, the absence of hunger, and an unwell appearance, then something is definitely wrong. In order to be sure, take a sample of the snake’s feces to a good vet for testing and get a prescription for your snake. One wrong thing pet owners do is self-prescribe whenever their pet is ill. Avoid doing that!
SMALL BUT DANGEROUS INSECTS
Some small insects like mites and ticks should never be underestimated. Whenever you see small mobile dots on the skin of your snake, those are signs of mites. They are either red, white or black. Getting rid of mites from your snake might be a little strenuous. Well, anything for your pet right?
Get some warm water and soak the infected snake inside for some hours. If the water turns cold and the mites have not completely come off, prepare another warm bath and re-soak the infected snake until the mites fall off completely. You may need to do this a couple of times before you can effectively dispose of the parasites.
Ticks are bigger than mites as well as harder to remove. They attach and hide in between the scales which makes it very hard to remove. The best way to get rid of them is the use of petroleum jelly. Spread jelly thickly all over the head of the tick and choke the tick till it lets go of the snake.
The biggest mistake is to forcefully remove a tick from your snake’s skin, you would do more damage than the tick itself. You can kill your snake real fast because forcefully removing a strongly attached tick might cause damage to the skin of the snake leaving its skin exposed to infections and diseases.
UNTREATED BRUISES AND CUTS
Try as much as possible to check on your snake regularly for any cuts and bruises. Leave no cuts untreated because it could give room for infections and eventually death of your snake. When you see cuts and bruises on your snake, the first thing to do is to clean the surface of the injury with anti-infection ointment until the injury completely heals. If it is possible to cover the wound to avoid unnecessary infection or you can put it in a quarantine tank.
The second thing to do is prevention. Try to find what injured the snake, probably its current home isn’t safe enough. You can get rid of the material (maybe a sharp object) or can change its home to a safer location. Anything can cause injury to your snake: rat bite, injury as a result of frozen pinkies or bone crushed and so on. Whatever caused it, find and get rid of it.
IBD IN SNAKES
IBD, otherwise known as Inclusion Body Disease is a very deadly disease that affects many snakes, mostly boas and pythons. However, it has been established that there is no particular cure for this dangerous disease. If your snake has IBD, the best thing is to separate the snake from the other snakes as fast as possible for about 90 days so as not to infect the others. Close up any opening in the quarantine zone to avoid any contact with the outside.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR SNAKE IS DOWN WITH IBD?
There are different signs by which you can know if your snake has IBD but the most common ones include neurological disturbances (such as not righting itself when on its back, “star-gazing,” unresponsiveness, regurgitation, asymmetrical dilation of pupils, and paralysis) and for tumors and other illnesses. Call a professional and reputable vet with experience with this kind of disease to come to take a look.
SEPTICEMIA IN SNAKES
This is another deadly disease often caused by a bacterium. It is so dangerous sometimes that you might not see any signs or symptoms and the only way you would know is when the snake dies or when it is rather too late to attend. Sometimes when a snake is suffering from an infection, it gives room for other diseases such as a bacterium, to creep in since its defenses have been weakened by that condition. You would know something is wrong but that particular thing wrong with it is unknown.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS TO EXPECT?
What the bacteria do is to damage the snake’s organs and cause hemorrhage, which indicates a sign of “petechiae”. Once you start seeing signs of petechiae, and then make sure, you call for a vet ASAP. Ensure the vet studies the situation severely before concluding on the treatment because it could get tricky.
Other possible signs to look out for includes red swollen skin, sluggishness/unmoving, fever, abscesses and most likely more.
The most common way to avoid this dangerous and deadly disease is by prevention. You can prevent it by ensuring absolute cleanliness. Clean the surrounding environment and home of your snake regularly, removing any form of leftover food, feces or urates.
Next thing is to stay vigilant and at alert for any symptoms or signs but if you miss the signs, do not be sad! It happens a lot and it is not your fault.
Respiration infections occur in snakes in the same way it happens to humans. When you start hearing a whistling sound when near your snake, it definitely has a respiratory tract infection (RTI). Other signs include coughing, sluggishness, runny nose, wheezing and clicking sound when breathing. Anything that can affect one’s breathing should be taken off immediately because once breathing stops, that is all!
When you see signs of RTI, the first thing is to increase the temperature of the snake’s environment or enclosure to speed up and induce the responses of the snake’s immune system. When you do this, the snake’s system starts to fight against the illness. Change the location of the snake, probably to a less noisy location. Make it warm, quiet and comfortable.
Most times when this is done, the snake would start showing signs of recovery almost immediately. If the illness persists, call in a professional and well-experienced vet for proper diagnosis. He might decide to take samples of blood to test in his lab for any form of bacteria, which would enhance his diagnosis and prescription.
HOW DO I PREVENT RTI?
Study the behavior of your pet snake. Like humans, snakes have a different personality. Some snakes like a quiet environment while some can cope with a noisy environment. Place your pet in its home depending on its personality. Keeping your snake in a dirty, moldy, too cold or too hot environment can cause respiratory infections. Above all, cleanliness and alertness are the top means to keep your pet snake at the best health condition.
Whenever there is anything relating to shedding or ecdysis, the issue is most likely hydration. In an event that your snake is not adequately hydrated, it may witness retained skin on his eye caps or tail. Make sure that you raise the humidity immediately you sense that your snake is going to shed. Most snakes usually experience shedding problem just because of a wound that occurred in the past. If you notice any retained skin after shedding, make sure you remove it. Failure to remove the skin might lead to blockage of blood flow in the body of the snake and eventually termination of the tail.
HOW DO I KNOW MY SNAKE IS SICK?
Unlike other animals, it takes a while before signs of sickness start showing in snakes. However, we have general signs by which you would use to tell if your snake is sick. Anorexia is a common sign of sickness in a snake. When your snake lacks appetite or involuntarily decides not to eat, you would know that something is definitely wrong, most likely illness.
Most sick snakes will not eat and have practically zero enthusiasm for sustenance, paying little heed to what prey is offering or whether prey is sustained in any condition. Snakes that haven’t eaten for a drawn-out timeframe (weeks to months) will seem dried out, with indented eyes, held bits of skin from deficient shedding and dry, sticky salivation in their mouths. They will get in shape, as observed by muscle squandering along their chest area surface, making the hard spines of their vertebrae increasingly noticeable.
Before you conclude, you should know that there are conditions that can cause anorexia in snake such as:
- Snake in pre-shed condition.
- Latter stages of pregnancy.
- Younger, smaller snakes feed more usually compared to older, larger ones
- Obese snakes occasionally engage in self-imposed fasts.
- Newborn or freshly hatched snakes may not feed til after they undergo their first shed usually 10-14 days after birth.
- A disorder associated with the breeding period or the imposition of captivity on freshly acquired highly strung species.
- Hibernation or attempts to hibernate.
After you have successfully checked for these conditions then you can conclude that your snake is sick. Fun fact about snakes is that they do not really eat but eat proactively when they want to. You have to know the particular time your pet snake likes to feed or else it might not eat.
SNAKE AND ITS SURROUNDING
One of the things that contribute largely to the health of your pet snake is its home and where it is housed. Most snakes before purchased by the owner were shipped from outside, from a different environment. On getting to their new home, they might find it hard to adapt, become lethargic, isolated and sick because of the new environmental conditions. What you should do is find out where the snake came from and try as much as possible to create the same environmental conditions artificially. This can help enhance its adaptation to the new environment. Failure to do this could cause the snake to eventually die.
We have successfully talked about the possible reasons why your pet snake died and ways by which you can prevent it subsequent times. Snakes although deadly are sensitive creatures when trained as pets. If you follow all the guidelines listed above, then you can be sure that your pet snake would be healthy.
Never neglect the environmental conditions of your snake’s enclosure- temperature and humidity as it can cause the death of your pet snake. Cleanliness and alertness are also as important. Above all, if you notice any symptoms out of the ordinary, call a trustworthy and reputable vet doctor to come to check it out.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I really hope this helped you with your pet snake. HOW TO TAME A SNAKE IN 7 EASY STEPS