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  1. #1
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    Head Rubbing? Scale Rot? Demons?

    Help friends! My ball python had a patch of dry, flaky scales on top of her head after her last shed. Itís was maybe 3/3 scales and since the rest of her shed came off clean I figured it was just stuck and seeing as itís literally the top of her head I didnít think a soak would be any use. Well, she shed again today and the patch is gone, but now itís replaced by a small white spot. Itís dry, no discharge, no other patches of irregularities on her. Sheís fed frozen, nothing rough in the tub and I double checked decor for any scratchy bits. I did put a little diluted betadine on the spot, (working with her letting my touch her head is paying off) but am wondering what this could be and if itís something I shouldnít wait on vet care for.


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  2. #2
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    That's a "head rub"...pretty common, especially among snakes kept in enclosures that aren't tall or large enough, or that have abrasive screen tops. The snake pushes up on the top, causing some damage (usually minor) to the scales on top of their head, resulting in a "bald python". -Yes, I'm making a joke- but only partway- since the scale loss may or may not fill back in- your snake may always have a pinkish or whitish spot there, where the scales were rubbed away & won't regrow. Topical antiseptics only help prevent infection if the skin is broken & raw, and that's usually fixed pretty quickly by the snake going into a few shed cycles to promote healing. Doesn't look like you need a vet for that, only if it somehow looks worse- as in being re-damaged further.

    I personally wouldn't take a snake of mine with that minor injury as shown to the vet, but of course, it's always your call. There isn't much they can do, it's like taking a child in for a skinned knee, basically, & it's healing just fine. Some snakes can be stubborn about pushing though & since they don't have hands, the only thing they can push with is their head, either the top or their nose. Nose rubs are far worse, in my opinion, because they sometimes cause plugged-up & scabbed-over nostrils, or a mouth infection, or even a facial abscess that requires surgical removal. (Snake abscesses don't drain because their pus is mostly solid, not liquid.)

    Best topical antiseptic for snakes: Vetericyn ointment, water-based & made for reptile use- won't cause shed issues as the petroleum jelly-based ointments designed for humans are known for doing. Diluted Betadine (povidone-iodine) is fine too though.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-21-2021 at 11:16 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    ballpythonluvr (01-22-2021)

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