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  1. #1
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    Exclamation EMERGENCY! Dehydration/Weird Shed?

    I’ve had my ball python for about 3 months now. She’s about 4 months old and eats a rat pup every 7 days without fail…Except for the last 2 weeks as she’s been in shed. This is her second shed with me, her first shed was a full shed with tail and eye caps both.

    She is consistently at 70% humidity and it’s been the same now that she’s in shed. 2 days ago I woke up and checked on her and saw that her skin was extremely loose. She had already been in blue and also had pink belly, so I expected this. She then began shedding on her head, however, when I checked on her again I noticed that she only shed her neck piece. The rest of her body is still loose and saggy as if the skin is still attached and she has pieces of shed stuck to her face and neck.

    Her humidity is being measured by a digital hygrometer, her temps are 32° on the warm side and 25° on the cool side - she has a hide on either side. She also has lots of foliage and a water bowl she can soak in. This stressed me out, so I transferred her to a critter keeper with 2 inches of water and a towel for about 30 mins. When I removed her she was stressed but still had all the shed stuck to her and rubbing her with a towel didn’t help. So I put her back into her enclosure and misted it so that the humidity is 80.

    I’m not sure what to do. she’s been eating consistently, exploring at nighttime and never showing any signs of stress. Her husbandry has been up to par and her humidity has been great. I don’t know what’s caused this. Should I try soaking her again tomorrow? Or should I feed her a wet f/t rat and leave her to figure out her shed by herself? Please help.

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    Her body has many many folds, and her eye caps are dented. I know these are signs of dehydration but I don’t understand how or why, or if she just needs to shed…

  3. #3
    BPnet Veteran nikkubus's Avatar
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    I'm not exactly sure what you mean by loose and shaggy. Do you mean that there are stuck bits that part is hanging off of her? 70% is plenty humid for a good shed, and usually digital hygrometers are more accurate than analog, but do you have a second one you could double check it's reading correctly?

    Have you seen her soaking in her bowl? Are there any signs of mites (looks like black pepper specs) in her bowl, between her scales near her belly, around her eyes? Mites can cause dehydration despite otherwise good husbandry.

    For her body to have folds if it's what I am imagining where it looks like there are almost reverse cracks, usually show up in the neck area first, is generally a sign of moderate dehydration. If you are doing everything right, no sign of mites, and have double checked the hygrometer, a vet visit might be in order to get a fecal and make sure there isn't some sort of internal parasite that is dehydrating her.

    If I am mistaken what you mean, a pic or two might help.

    Either way, I would set up a humid hide for her to help her finish her shed without the stress of soaking her. You can use something like an old butter tub, cut a hole for a door but make sure the lid can still be on because it will help hold humidity in, and put some damp sphagnum moss inside. I'd put it on the warm end of the enclosure.
    7.22 BP 1.4 corn 1.1 SD retic 0.1 hognose

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    I agree with nikkubus' post ^- check for mites or parasites. Another thing that causes bad sheds sometimes is feeding a snake while they're in shed, because both digestion & shedding requires (uses) more water from the snake's body, & some snakes don't "multi-task" very well, so either they have a bad shed, or they regurgitate their meal...BUT, from your post, it doesn't even sound like you fed this snake in shed? So something is "off".
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: EMERGENCY! Dehydration/Weird Shed?

    She’s a BEL, so I can see that she doesn’t have mites. She’s currently on paper towels as well. She pooped just yesterday (as she usually does only when she’s finished shed) and her stool
    looks good and normal.

    The folds are like almost inverted cracks and they are quite prominent. There are also a lot
    or them, almost like one of those wrinkly English bulldogs, which yes appears to be dehydration. Maybe I will get another hygrometer but it seems accurate as it matches the humidity of the weather app when i leave it outside. I think I will give her a humid hide as you suggested. I was planning on doing that when I moved her out her tub and into her wooden vivarium next week - but now that she is “sick”, I will have to keep her in here until she seems better. Parasites seem like the only
    logical option, I’ve also heard of just generally bad sheds for no reason in ball python younger years, how credible is this? It still wouldn’t explain her dehydration

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    Assuming you haven't discovered a new BP morph ("Shar-pei"- & btw, they're Chinese, not British), this is not a normal shed, & I've never heard of this being associated with younger BPs either, though maybe someone else has? Good sheds result when snakes have good hydration & good nutrition, the right temperatures to digest, & no illnesses or parasites.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  10. #7
    BPnet Veteran nikkubus's Avatar
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    Agree with Bogertophis, this is not normal. I've raised a lot of hatchlings and never run into this under good husbandry, it's always from newly acquired rescues or imported WC animals that have parasite infections or had a particularly rough trip here. A BEL is most certainly CBB, so parasites are less common in those than WC, but not impossible. Sometimes they can be pretty dormant and suddenly get more severe because an animal is stressed and their immunity drops. If it were me, it would certainly worth a vet trip to rule out parasites, and if the vet feels she is dehydrated badly, they can do IV fluids to keep her from getting any worse. Drinking, soaking, and humidity can only rehydrate an animal slowly, where an IV can do it very quickly.
    7.22 BP 1.4 corn 1.1 SD retic 0.1 hognose

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    Re: EMERGENCY! Dehydration/Weird Shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by nikkubus View Post
    ... certainly worth a vet trip to rule out parasites, and if the vet feels she is dehydrated badly, they can do IV fluids to keep her from getting any worse. Drinking, soaking, and humidity can only rehydrate an animal slowly, where an IV can do it very quickly.
    Assuming you have a skilled herp vet nearby capable of starting an IV in a snake.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: EMERGENCY! Dehydration/Weird Shed?

    Okay thank you so much. I don’t know what else could be dehydrating her, so parasites sound like the only option. I will take her to the vet tomorrow and hopefully we can get this sorted out. There is a good Exotic Animal Hospital in my area and their website says they deal with snakes, I will contact them today and find out if they can help with this specific issue or refer me to someone who can. Thank you so much everyone

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