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  1. #1
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    Scabbed, Thinning Scales Around Spine + Infected(?) Eye

    Hello,

    I have a spider ball python (around 3 years old) who is currently having some issues. I just got back from my college (8 hour drive from my home) and my parents have been taking care of my snakes. I'm unsure of when this began happening. All I know if that I noticed it today during feeding. My ball python has multiple (presumably scabs) or horribly dry, lumpy scales around his spine. These don't show up on the bottom or the sides. He's always been a petite snake but he seems skinnier than usual. I don't have a gram scale so I cannot weigh him, but he doesn't seem as plump as he usually is. Along with this, he has a gross, scabby cast over one of his eyes. I'm unsure if it's from multiple stuck sheds or an eye infection. He moved around quite a bit when I took him out but refuses to eat. I've only tried today; but even when he's shedding he usually eats. At first, however, he seemed interested. He pointed his nose towards the mouse and inched closer to it but retracted when it sniffed him. (He's live fed).

    I don't know how this could've happened because I wasn't there when it began. He had the average half-cylindrical logs for hiding in; nothing that would tear apart his scales. Right now he has stuck shed, which isn't usual for him but it has happened so I wasn't worried initially when I saw him. Upon closer inspection, though, I saw all the red scabs.

    Here's pictures. Notice the white spacing on the back. Those aren't normal and I believe they're the scales separating around that area:
















    Any ideas of what this could be? An appointment has been set up with a general vet tomorrow at 9:30 AM CT but I don't know how helpful they'll be since exotic animals aren't all too common; especially snakes. I need a better understanding of this in order to help him, if I'm able to.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User MamaRhea's Avatar
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    Re: Scabbed, Thinning Scales Around Spine + Infected(?) Eye

    The pics are a little blurry, but is it possible a live rat was left in there with him for too long? He almost looks chewed on. Or maybe burned? Is the heat source on a thermostat? He's definitely got some stuck shed too. Poor baby I'm glad you have an appointment

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  4. #3
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    As much as you probably don't want to hear it, it looks like neglect to me. That animal should not have been left like that for however long it's been going on. Injuries and things happen, but that animal should have seen a vet long ago. And had you not come home from school (I'm assuming your school is shut down indefinitely?) when you did it may have been too late.

    Good luck with the vet appt. I hope you can get him back on track before heading back to school.

    And for the animals sake, I'd be finding someone new to care for the snake while you're gone...or unfortunately re-home him. Leaving him in the condition he's in is unfair. Your parents clearly don't have the animals best interest at heart, and he deserves better.
    ...life is beautiful...

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  6. #4
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    Re: Scabbed, Thinning Scales Around Spine + Infected(?) Eye

    Quote Originally Posted by Craiga 01453 View Post
    As much as you probably don't want to hear it, it looks like neglect to me. That animal should not have been left like that for however long it's been going on. Injuries and things happen, but that animal should have seen a vet long ago. And had you not come home from school (I'm assuming your school is shut down indefinitely?) when you did it may have been too late.

    Good luck with the vet appt. I hope you can get him back on track before heading back to school.

    And for the animals sake, I'd be finding someone new to care for the snake while you're gone...or unfortunately re-home him. Leaving him in the condition he's in is unfair. Your parents clearly don't have the animals best interest at heart, and he deserves better.
    Agree, he looks so skinny too

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    Re: Scabbed, Thinning Scales Around Spine + Infected(?) Eye

    Those look like bites from a rodent. Im guessing your parents leave the mouse in and walk out before feeding is done. Not good. Prekilled is a safer method.

    Also, stuck shed may be normal for you, but it shouldn't be. That means your husbandry is off. Not enough humidity. I can definitely see stuck eye caps.



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  9. #6
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    Re: Scabbed, Thinning Scales Around Spine + Infected(?) Eye

    According to my parents, he hasn't eaten in 2 months. I do believe they may have left a live mouse or rat in there and that could be it. I know they've done it before, even when I say it's dangerous to do that. It's hard to put a foot down from hundreds of miles away. My other two ball pythons are perfectly healthy. I'm not sure what went wrong with this one when they were caring for him. I told them that he doesn't eat rats because he's small enough to fill up on mice, so they shouldn't have put a rat in with him anyway. (Whether they did or not, I have no idea-- but a mouse could do that much damage if it was aggressive enough). All snakes are fed separately so it makes sense for only one to be bitten up if put in with an aggressive mouse/rat.

    As far as giving him up to another owner, that all depends. My college is shut down and it might be for the rest of the semester seeing how this panic is going. I'm going to be switching colleges as well as I want to get into another major, and may end up staying home as opposed to a dorm. This means I can watch over my own snakes again instead of them doing so. If it isn't extremely costly, I can work with him to heal him. The eye is my main worry since if those are just scabs, they will go away as long as they're taken care of properly and not injected. Another worry is the fact he's not eating. If there is something I can do, I will try but if not, I'm not going to let him suffer anymore. I don't want to see him die so young.

    And my parents aren't doing this on purpose. They didn't know. Of course they don't care for them as much as I do, and they don't spend time in my room so they're not always looking. But they're not evil. They're just very inexperienced, and sadly that was at a cost.

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  11. #7
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    What kind of heat is used on his enclosure? Those could also be burns if heat is from above, also low humidity. Poor snake...and live rodents left alone with a snake should NEVER happen. A rodent gets hungry and WILL chew on a snake; a snake that's not hungry generally doesn't not fight back...in the wild they
    just move on (& they follow their instincts), but in a cage they obviously cannot do that...they just get injured or killed.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 03-15-2020 at 05:11 PM.
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  13. #8
    BPnet Veteran Craiga 01453's Avatar
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    Re: Scabbed, Thinning Scales Around Spine + Infected(?) Eye

    Quote Originally Posted by Nixon View Post
    According to my parents, he hasn't eaten in 2 months. I do believe they may have left a live mouse or rat in there and that could be it. I know they've done it before, even when I say it's dangerous to do that. It's hard to put a foot down from hundreds of miles away. My other two ball pythons are perfectly healthy. I'm not sure what went wrong with this one when they were caring for him. I told them that he doesn't eat rats because he's small enough to fill up on mice, so they shouldn't have put a rat in with him anyway. (Whether they did or not, I have no idea-- but a mouse could do that much damage if it was aggressive enough). All snakes are fed separately so it makes sense for only one to be bitten up if put in with an aggressive mouse/rat.

    As far as giving him up to another owner, that all depends. My college is shut down and it might be for the rest of the semester seeing how this panic is going. I'm going to be switching colleges as well as I want to get into another major, and may end up staying home as opposed to a dorm. This means I can watch over my own snakes again instead of them doing so. If it isn't extremely costly, I can work with him to heal him. The eye is my main worry since if those are just scabs, they will go away as long as they're taken care of properly and not injected. Another worry is the fact he's not eating. If there is something I can do, I will try but if not, I'm not going to let him suffer anymore. I don't want to see him die so young.

    And my parents aren't doing this on purpose. They didn't know. Of course they don't care for them as much as I do, and they don't spend time in my room so they're not always looking. But they're not evil. They're just very inexperienced, and sadly that was at a cost.
    I'm not saying they're evil, or bad people in any way. However, as adults they should know when something is wrong and do the right thing about it. And since they accepted the responsibility of caring for the snakes, that means learning about them, putting in the effort and caring for them properly. It's not a lack of experience, it's a lack of responsibility. Otherwise simply say they don't want to keep the snake and find him a proper home.
    You're a college kid, you knew something was wrong and you're acting on it, kudos to you. You're acting more grown up and responsible than your folks.

    Good luck to you. Please know I'm not bashing your folks, I don't know a single thing about them other than what this thread reads. They're clearly not interested in taking responsibility, and that's perfectly fine. However, caring for them in the half hearted manner they are isn't fair to the animals.
    I truly wish you and your snakes the best.
    ...life is beautiful...

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    Re: Scabbed, Thinning Scales Around Spine + Infected(?) Eye

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    What kind of heat is used on his enclosure? Those could also be burns if heat is from above, also low humidity. Poor snake...and live rodents left alone with a snake should NEVER happen. A rodent gets hungry and WILL chew on a snake; a snake that's not hungry generally doesn't not fight back...in the wild they
    just move on (& they follow their instincts), but in a cage they obviously cannot do that...they just get injured or killed.
    Oh, yeah, sorry that I forgot to mention it. It's a heat pad. I know the dangers of using one but I had issues with the heat lamps since they'd burn out in less than a month and were $15 each. It was getting really expensive. I try to make a thick layer of bedding so it isn't as hot but it condensed and gets moved around overtime. They have logs on both a cool and warm side in case they get too hot. The only way those could be burns is if he laid upside down on it with direct contact to it. Looking at the cage now, there's about 2 inches of bedding covering the heat pad. I felt over the hottest spot and it's a very mild warmth; certainly not enough to burn.
    Last edited by Nixon; 03-15-2020 at 05:44 PM.

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    Re: Scabbed, Thinning Scales Around Spine + Infected(?) Eye

    Can you tell us specifics about his husbandry? Temps, humidity, substrate, caging type?



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