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  1. #1
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    Question Cloacal Opening - Is this normal?

    Hello All,


    Iím hoping to get some advice about my ball python, Smaug. Iíve never had Smaug sexed so Iím not sure whether male or female, but I got Smaug as a baby and have had him/her for about a year now. Yesterday when I picked him up for some cuddles I noticed the Cloacal opening looked somewhat dry and perhaps irritated. After soaking in a nice warm bath it looked somewhat better, but Iím concerned about Smaugís health and want to be proactive if something is wrong. I would attach photos, but it seems the forum does not permit me to do so. Thank you!


    Best,


    Maggie

  2. #2
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Re: Cloacal Opening - Is this normal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart_Reptiles View Post
    To post a picture you need to host it through a third party and than copy and paste the link here, or if you are using your phone simply dowload and use tapatalk.
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  5. #4
    BPnet Veteran Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Doesn't look like a major concern to me. Did you happen to notice his most recent stool & urates? Might have been dryer & harder to expel than usual; urates sometimes
    turn into stone-like 'marbles' of varying size that a snake might even need professional help to expel, so be sure he stays hydrated, & what is his cage humidity?

    What sub-strate is he living on? If it's any sort of wood chips or aspen, you might re-think that, or at least be careful how you feed him so he doesn't ingest any such material along with his food. Snakes have great digestion for what they're SUPPOSED to eat, but cannot digest twigs & any kind of wood...they just don't have the enzymes to do so, and if swallowed, such things are apt to be very irritating to "pass", thus the sore-looking cloaca you're seeing.

    I think it will be ok just left alone, but if you want you could also probably apply a little Vetericyn ointment (made for snakes, water based antiseptic) to his cloaca for now...just externally, & mostly it will rub off anyway. Just pay attention if there is any bleeding...might want to keep him on white paper towels for now, so any issues (blood) shows up.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-10-2020 at 01:31 PM.
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    I don't see anything alarming either.

    But to be safe just be sure you're diligent with cleaning, make sure there's always clean water available and keep an eye on it.

    Like Bogertophis mentioned, it may be a good idea to use paper towel for substrate in the meantime.
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    Thank You Bogertophis!

    The only thing I could might attribute this to is dehydration. I haven't seen any recent stools or urinates in the terrarium when I combed through it yesterday. How can I assure he stays hydrated? More frequent soaking? I feed live, so there is not an opportunity to inject water like I've read on some of the other threads. I try to keep the terrarium moist and I keep terrarium moss within his "hidey hole," or cave. I've been considering a fogger for more consistent moisture. I've used this before with a previous ball python.

    I keep the eco-earth coconut fiber in the terrarium as a substrate and do have a separate enclosure without any substrate for feeding.

    Thank you for your advice! I will keep an eye on my little guy and keep you posted if you'd like

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  10. #7
    BPnet Veteran Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Actually, from your thread title, I thought he might be keeping his vent partially-open, so I'm glad that's not the case. I've seen photos of much worse-looking cloacas
    (as far as looking sore & irritated), but it's great that you're paying attention to your sweet BP...that's what good "snarents" do.
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    Re: Cloacal Opening - Is this normal?

    Oh! What would be the cause or concern with the keeping of the cloaca open? It did sort of look like it was partially open, but soaking seemed to help.

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    BPnet Veteran Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Cloacal Opening - Is this normal?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieMay91 View Post
    Oh! What would be the cause or concern with the keeping of the cloaca open? It did sort of look like it was partially open, but soaking seemed to help.
    As I said, they can get urate stones (aka "cloacaliths"), which can cause a prolapse & even a need for surgery. So keep him eating & drinking & good humidity; if he's taking f/t, thaw in water & feed it damp if he'll take it that way. (he might not though, he's a BP, lol). And a soak can help too.

    Snakes that form cloacaliths can also form more than one, btw. Some little ones may come out OK, but a larger one may get stuck, thus causing an issue with the vent (cloaca).

    Like any sort of "constipation", it seems more likely to occur with snakes that are less active (like BPs), & also those whose living conditions tend to dehydrate them (the high temps. that BPs need). Their bodies evolved to deal with their living conditions, but as pets, they are less active...just keep that in mind.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-10-2020 at 03:07 PM.
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    BPnet Veteran Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Thank You Bogertophis!

    Quote Originally Posted by MaggieMay91 View Post
    The only thing I could might attribute this to is dehydration. I haven't seen any recent stools or urinates in the terrarium when I combed through it yesterday. How can I assure he stays hydrated? More frequent soaking? I feed live, so there is not an opportunity to inject water like I've read on some of the other threads. I try to keep the terrarium moist and I keep terrarium moss within his "hidey hole," or cave. I've been considering a fogger for more consistent moisture. I've used this before with a previous ball python...
    One of the snakes I had many years ago (NOT a BP, btw) was elderly & prone to forming cloacaliths. What helped her to defecate (& expel the stones that formed) was to put her in my bathtub with shallow luke-warm water so that she could actually go thru the motions of swimming (with me right there of course). That motion, combined with the water, proved to be very "inspiring". Needless to say, my tub got rather messy, lol, but her relief was worth it. (I have also in the past helped a snake by removing a large cloacalith using some KY jelly to ease it out, but that is more of a job for your exotic vet.)

    Cloacaliths aren't really very common in pet snakes...it's just that I've been keeping so many for so many years (including taking in rescues) that I've seen a few cases to know more about them.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-10-2020 at 03:21 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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