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Thread: Sudden Death

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    Sudden Death

    Hello,
    I recently picked up a ball python from a local reptile show. I brought it home and placed it in itís enclosure. After giving several days to settle I offered it food and it was eating and drinking. In all regards it seemed to be healthy and thriving. However, one day I left the house and it was fine in the morning, then when I returned in the afternoon it had died. The enclosure had a heat pad connected to a thermostat, as well as a good temperature gradient from one end to the other. It showed no signs of parasites or an R.I. And the enclosure was quarantined apart from our other reptiles. As mentioned it had been drinking, eating, and defecating, besides it was on a digestible substrate so it was not impacted. I had hides and did not seemed stressed in any way. Overall I was just surprised by how suddenly it went from healthy and active to dead. Any insight?

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    BPnet Veteran Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: Sudden Death

    Here are 5 possible reasons for rapid death:

    -Temporary power outage, snake got too cold, regurgitated, died due to fluid in the lung.

    -Thermostat malfunctioned, too hot or too cold, snake died of heat stroke/hypothermia.

    -Decorative item tipped over, fell on part of the snake, died of internal bleeding or neurological damage.

    -Top of cage not securely fastened or irregular bin shape (some plastic bins have handle indentations), snake tried to squeeze out top, but, got caught half-way and eventually drew back into cage: died of internal bleeding.

    -Cage or food item contained chemical toxin.
    *.* TNTC

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    Re: Sudden Death

    Thanks for the response. I had cleaned the enclosure with a reptile safe solution and had been using ReptiSafe in the water so I can't see how it got exposed to any chemicals. There were no decorative items disturbed and apart from plants there were no items far enough of the ground or light enough to be tipped. The top of the enclosure was clipped shut in several location so I don't think it could have budged it. The thermostat and ambient temperature were still good when I got back, so I am not sure if it temporarily malfunctioned or not.

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    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    How old was the snake? Sometime this happens (more likely, the younger the snake) due to abnormal malformations that you (or the breeder) cannot see or predict.
    In other words, it just happens sometimes. Just like with humans...a small percentage are born with things like a hole in their heart, etc. Nothing you can do about it,
    no way to predict it, & that's partly* why snakes are mostly sold more cheaply as hatchlings...some just may fail to thrive. (*also because older snakes have more time
    & food & care invested in them, & their eventual characteristics are more obvious & stabilized) In all likelihood, there was nothing you did wrong...so sorry for your loss.
    You might or might not have gotten an answer as to what caused his death if you had a necropsy done right away by an experienced vet, but maybe not even then.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Exclamation Re: Sudden Death

    Heat stroke? Wouldn't the snake move if it was getting that hot? Never heard of this before, I'm learning though.OP, I am sorry to for your lose.
    Last edited by Damien79; 02-17-2020 at 09:13 PM.

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    Re: Sudden Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Damien79 View Post
    Heat stroke? Wouldn't the snake move if it was getting that hot? Never heard of this before, I'm learning though.OP, I am sorry to for your lose.
    Sadly, it has happened that BPs just sit still & get "burned". I suspect it's because they are heavy-bodied snakes & it takes a while before the heat penetrates enough to trigger their response, & by then it's too late for the part contacting the excessive heat, but it sure would be nice to have a study done on this; honestly, I can't think of any other kinds of snakes that have done this...I might be wrong (?) here but it seems that BPs are prone to doing this?
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-17-2020 at 09:29 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: Sudden Death

    Hi, I know this is unrelated but I'm a noob trying to get as much information as I can before I get my own snake and when I saw temporary power outage as a possible reason for death I wanted to know something. What am I supposed to do if my power does go out?

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    Re: Sudden Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakob_Ansel View Post
    Hi, I know this is unrelated but I'm a noob trying to get as much information as I can before I get my own snake and when I saw temporary power outage as a possible reason for death I wanted to know something. What am I supposed to do if my power does go out?
    Have a plan. Alternative heat. They make Ventless Natural gas and Propane room heaters. 30,000 BTU. No electric needed. Great for a reptile room.
    You can buy the reptile shipping heat packs to use in a tub:tote. You can also put them in a Pillow Case and stick them under your shirt.


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    Re: Sudden Death

    Quote Originally Posted by Jakob_Ansel View Post
    Hi, I know this is unrelated but I'm a noob trying to get as much information as I can before I get my own snake and when I saw temporary power outage as a possible reason for death I wanted to know something. What am I supposed to do if my power does go out?
    I agree with CALM Pythons, & also, you can use jars of hot water to keep bagged (!) snakes warm inside a "cooler" (or styrofoam shipping box). The insulation will keep in
    enough warmth for 8-9 hours, at which point you change the water. (I found this out during a 4-day power outage from an ice storm, & all my snakes were fine...in fact, they were FAR more comfortable than I was, lol.) But yes, I've even put snakes in my shirt on occasion- you do whatever you have to do, make the best with what you have.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-20-2020 at 10:57 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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