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  1. #1
    Registered User Edea_Tsuki's Avatar
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    Help with some head shed?

    Hi again. Lot of time that I don't write here. I think I have a big problem...
    Before we start maybe it's better to explain what appened one weeks ago, because I think it's related...
    Unfortunately after lot of time that all goes right, I made a little mistake and my BP bite me for the first time. Essentially he was in shed and I didn't notice it, because usually I check his eyes that went grey for the shed, but this time I simply think he passed this fase before I notice it, so I take him for clean the terrarium and do maintenance. And here the bite. I specify that he probably think that I was food, because he remained attached for a bit.
    I think this experience was extreamely stressful for him (damn, I learn that I have to do more attention to these things) and late days later, I found his shed all in pieces, with many attached to him yet.
    I shed off him with warm water, but today I notice that he have this sparkly scales in the head. I think that there are some pieces of shed... He really hates to being touched in head, for shed off his neck I really had a bad time...
    So I want to ask you guys if it's a big problem that he have them yet, maybe they shed off with next shed? Or there are a huge problem? Unfortunately I live in a island, and here we have only ONE exotic veterinarian, and she really doesn't know so much about reptiles because she is specialized in all "Exotic animals". Yeah I know, a bit general... But there is only her here. She entrust to a breeder for reptiles.
    All this talk for tell you guys that if this is a serious problem, probably I have to do myself or pay the breeder for do that. But I have a huge fear that my BP get stressed out again... So I ask you whats is better to do, because you guys have more experience than me.
    I post here a photo about the sparkle scales. (his scar in the snout is stuff that he had when the old owner give the BP to me. I don't really know the mechanics about this but you guys help me with that!)
    A note: Sorry for my probably bad english. I'm not native, but I can repeat myself if something doesn't clear. Long story short, I am here because in my country simply nobody that owner a snake helps you with anything related to them. They are really too egocentric and rude to help someone. It's... really sad. But let's focus on the snake...
    https://im.ge/i/11yfZp
    Last edited by Edea_Tsuki; 09-17-2022 at 06:07 AM.

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  3. #2
    BPnet Veteran Homebody's Avatar
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    Re: Help with some head shed?

    It doesn't look like the stuck shed is in a sensitive area like the eyes, nose, mouth or heat pits. I've only had to deal with stuck shed once, but I think it's o.k. to leave it until the next shed.
    Last edited by Homebody; 09-17-2022 at 08:48 AM.
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  5. #3
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Hi- your post is pretty clear (in terms of English) actually-

    And we've ALL missed the signs of a "shed" now & then- oops!

    Yes, helping a snake to shed is fairly stressful for them- the neck & head are areas most likely to stick (including "eye caps"). DO make sure the tail tip shed totally- otherwise even a little bit of shed remaining on a snake's tail tip can cut off the already-poor blood circulation in their tail, & make the tissue (tail tip) actually die.

    On the back of his head, you can probably hold off & hope the next shed goes better. Personally though, I always "bother them" until a shed is complete, but it's up to you.

    It IS an awkward spot, but NOT a serious problem- obviously you cannot soak their head under water, but with very gentle restraint (I'd sit & calmly hold the snake on my lap for a while), you could hold a small damp cloth (or piece of paper towel) on the spot for a while, & it should loosen up. Sometimes when you leave behind some stuck 'shed' skin, the next time it sticks there too, anyway- instead of all coming off together.

    I'm glad that where you are, at least there are a few people (vet & breeder) that work with snakes too, but we're always happy to help you with any questions here. Yes, it's too bad that so many people (everywhere) do not like or even want to understand snakes.

    One more thing: I don't know if you actually check the humidity provided in the snake's enclosure with a gauge, but it might help in the future to provide your snake with a "humid hide", especially when he's getting ready to shed, so hopefully he can get it all done by himself.

    A "humid hide" is just a plastic container large enough for your snake to easily fit in, with a doorway & WITH some damp moss inside (or other damp substrate- even a very damp small towel is fine). A terry towel or sphagnum moss, when soaked & drained, offers some mild abrasion too, besides holding the water- & most snakes smell the extra moisture when in shed, & are happy to go right in for a couple days until they complete the job. It's always good to check (tail tip, eye caps etc) anyway, but most snakes appreciate a "humid hide", & it's something you can make with a large plastic food container, for example, to help them. If there isn't enough space in his enclosure to add the humid hide, you could just remove the "cool side hide" & put in the "humid hide" instead.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 09-17-2022 at 10:06 AM.
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  7. #4
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    I see from a previous thread that your snake has had a previous issue with this same spot on his head, & still has a couple odd-looking scales there. I'm thinking that it might be related to the stuck area-? Did you ever try dabbing on an antifungal medication (with a Q-tip) on those odd looking scales to clear that up? (It's something I've personally seen & dealt with in the past with a BP.)
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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  9. #5
    Registered User Argentum's Avatar
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    For removing stuck shed on a Ball Python's head, when the snake was head-shy, I've had good luck using a pillow case. Wet it thoroughly with tepid water, wring it out, put the snake inside and tie the open end shut, then leave it alone for an hour or so. Be sure to wring it out well enough that air can get through, so you're not drowning your snake. The humidity inside softens up the dry skin, and slithering around inside the cloth rubs against the fabric enough to work the patches off. Be sure to use a 'sack' or pillowcase large enough for the snake to move around inside, but not so large that it won't be pressing against the fabric when it does so. It's especially good for areas on the head, since they tend to nose and push against the cloth trying to find a way out. Warning; You then end up with a pillowcase full of bits of snake skin that are really hard to entirely clean out, so use one you don't plan on putting onto a pillow after that.

    Personal experience from a long time ago, if anyone has any concerns about this method please mention them!
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  11. #6
    Registered User Edea_Tsuki's Avatar
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    Re: Help with some head shed?

    I'll reply all in one post!

    Quote Originally Posted by Homebody View Post
    It doesn't look like the stuck shed is in a sensitive area like the eyes, nose, mouth or heat pits. I've only had to deal with stuck shed once, but I think it's o.k. to leave it until the next shed.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Hi- your post is pretty clear (in terms of English) actually-

    And we've ALL missed the signs of a "shed" now & then- oops!

    Yes, helping a snake to shed is fairly stressful for them- the neck & head are areas most likely to stick (including "eye caps"). DO make sure the tail tip shed totally- otherwise even a little bit of shed remaining on a snake's tail tip can cut off the already-poor blood circulation in their tail, & make the tissue (tail tip) actually die.

    On the back of his head, you can probably hold off & hope the next shed goes better. Personally though, I always "bother them" until a shed is complete, but it's up to you.

    It IS an awkward spot, but NOT a serious problem- obviously you cannot soak their head under water, but with very gentle restraint (I'd sit & calmly hold the snake on my lap for a while), you could hold a small damp cloth (or piece of paper towel) on the spot for a while, & it should loosen up. Sometimes when you leave behind some stuck 'shed' skin, the next time it sticks there too, anyway- instead of all coming off together.
    Quote Originally Posted by Argentum View Post
    For removing stuck shed on a Ball Python's head, when the snake was head-shy, I've had good luck using a pillow case. Wet it thoroughly with tepid water, wring it out, put the snake inside and tie the open end shut, then leave it alone for an hour or so. Be sure to wring it out well enough that air can get through, so you're not drowning your snake. The humidity inside softens up the dry skin, and slithering around inside the cloth rubs against the fabric enough to work the patches off. Be sure to use a 'sack' or pillowcase large enough for the snake to move around inside, but not so large that it won't be pressing against the fabric when it does so. It's especially good for areas on the head, since they tend to nose and push against the cloth trying to find a way out. Warning; You then end up with a pillowcase full of bits of snake skin that are really hard to entirely clean out, so use one you don't plan on putting onto a pillow after that.

    Personal experience from a long time ago, if anyone has any concerns about this method please mention them!
    Thanks to all for your helps! I am very curious about the pillow case method... If someone else can be credit that, I think that I'll try it because it seems the easy way! (and for me also the safiest, I really don't know exactly how to hold my BP in this cases, he moves a lot and I have lot of fear in case I squeeze him too much)
    I checked the tail and he didn't have any shed!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I'm glad that where you are, at least there are a few people (vet & breeder) that work with snakes too, but we're always happy to help you with any questions here. Yes, it's too bad that so many people (everywhere) do not like or even want to understand snakes.

    One more thing: I don't know if you actually check the humidity provided in the snake's enclosure with a gauge, but it might help in the future to provide your snake with a "humid hide", especially when he's getting ready to shed, so hopefully he can get it all done by himself.

    A "humid hide" is just a plastic container large enough for your snake to easily fit in, with a doorway & WITH some damp moss inside (or other damp substrate- even a very damp small towel is fine). A terry towel or sphagnum moss, when soaked & drained, offers some mild abrasion too, besides holding the water- & most snakes smell the extra moisture when in shed, & are happy to go right in for a couple days until they complete the job. It's always good to check (tail tip, eye caps etc) anyway, but most snakes appreciate a "humid hide", & it's something you can make with a large plastic food container, for example, to help them. If there isn't enough space in his enclosure to add the humid hide, you could just remove the "cool side hide" & put in the "humid hide" instead.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I see from a previous thread that your snake has had a previous issue with this same spot on his head, & still has a couple odd-looking scales there. I'm thinking that it might be related to the stuck area-? Did you ever try dabbing on an antifungal medication (with a Q-tip) on those odd looking scales to clear that up? (It's something I've personally seen & dealt with in the past with a BP.)
    Mh... Some tips for doing that without any bite? Last time that I try to pick him for maintenance when he was in shed, it didn't work so well :')
    By the way, I contacted the vet the time that I wrote that topic which you are talking about because I was very worried about scales, if I remember correctly some of them are visible also in the previous post. I explained her what you guys told me and she used UV for check if the snake have some kind of fungal infection. For her, he didn't have nothing, but if I remember correctly BP didn't have so much shiny scales before the shed... So I really don't know...

    Last edited by Edea_Tsuki; 09-17-2022 at 05:14 PM.

  12. #7
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    Re: Help with some head shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edea_Tsuki View Post
    ...
    Thanks to all for your helps! I am very curious about the pillow case method... If someone else can be credit that, I think that I'll try it because it seems the easy way! (and for me also the safiest, I really don't know exactly how to hold my BP in this cases, he moves a lot and I have lot of fear in case I squeeze him too much)
    I checked the tail and he didn't have any shed!

    Mh... Some tips for doing that without any bite? Last time that I try to pick him for maintenance when he was in shed, it didn't work so well :')
    By the way, I contacted the vet the time that I wrote that topic which you are talking about because I was very worried about scales, if I remember correctly some of them are visible also in the previous post. I explained her what you guys told me and she used UV for check if the snake have some kind of fungal infection. For her, he didn't have nothing, but if I remember correctly BP didn't have so much shiny scales before the shed... So I really don't know...

    I have one snake that really dislikes handling- he's a Korean rat snake, but acts like a "racer"- he's big (6'), strong & will not sit still, plus will randomly nip to remind you that he's not into being held. For the first time ever (he's 14 yrs), he recently had a bad shed* & I tried the "damp pillow case method" for him- it worked like a charm, & the best part was, he didn't "take it personal"-

    So yes, I'll vouch for the method, even though I rarely ever use it, because none of my other snakes mind being held (gently restrained for whatever reason). I find that with most snakes, even if they don't "like" what I'm doing, they don't feel threatened enough to bite & they just "put up with me". That goes for help with shedding or medical issues- it's not an issue for me. Snakes know the difference between predators or just "pesky owners", lol. My snakes get handled with gentle persistence- I just do what needs doing. I've never once in decades of keeping many snakes had a snake bite me for helping them shed- honest! It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I usually just soak them first in a ventilated container, then manually assist. They may squirm but they don't bite.

    With your BP- I'm not sure I'd soak the whole snake just for a spot on his head- but sometimes a pillow case or towel might help you wrap to restrain a snake too- you sound as if you're just a little afraid of your snake (or at least his bite?). The calmer & more "matter of fact" you are when handling a snake, the better (more relaxed) they usually are. You don't want them to feel as if they're under attack- I find that when I'm focused on fixing their issue, they seem to sense I'm just trying to help, & let me do whatever I need to. (Snakes IN "blue" ARE typically grumpy- but yours has shed now- all but that spot- so it shouldn't be an issue now.)

    *The Korean rat snake's bad shed was due to being fed too close to a shed cycle that he hadn't clouded up for as yet, so I didn't know NOT to feed him. FYI- both shedding & digestion requires good hydration, so some snakes have trouble doing both at the same time- usually, they prioritize digestion but then shed in pieces that stick. Remember that normally their body secretes moisture between the old & new skin to facilitate the shedding process- so that's the part that may not happen effectively when they're also busy digesting- & that's why the skin gets stuck. (The other thing that "can" happen but usually doesn't- if their body has already secreted the moisture to shed, but then they're fed but are too dehydrated to digest- they might regurgitate/vomit their food. This is why snakes often instinctively refuse food when in shed- & it's best we take their word for it.)

    I don't know that UV works for verifying a fungal infection on a snake's skin- I just know that looks like what a snake of mine (many years ago & diagnosed by my vet at the time) had, & what worked was a topical application of an antifungal liquid (1% miconazole). It does take quite a while to clear up- fungal infections are persistent, so you have to dab it on daily (or B.I.D.) for quite a while- but that worked on my snake. BPs are a little bit prone to this, I think, because skin fungus thrives in warm & humid environments- just as BPs do. Without antifungal treatment, those little spots on my snake never shed away, & finally got worse (started to spread), so treatment was necessary- & happily, effective. The affected scales (seen with magnification) have a rougher texture- so it makes sense to me that's perhaps why the shedding skin got stuck there.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 09-20-2022 at 05:51 PM.
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  14. #8
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    Re: Help with some head shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I don't know that UV works for verifying a fungal infection on a snake's skin- I just know that looks like what a snake of mine (many years ago) had, & what worked was a topical application of an antifungal liquid (1% miconazole). It does take quite a while to clear up- fungal infections are persistent, so you have to dab it on daily (or B.I.D.) for quite a while- but that worked on my snake. BPs are a little bit prone to this, I think, because skin fungus thrives in warm & humid environments- just as BPs do. Without antifungal treatment, those little spots on my snake never shed away, & finally got worse (started to spread), so treatment was necessary- & happily, effective. The affected scales (seen with magnification) have a rougher texture- so it makes sense to me that's perhaps why the shedding skin got stuck there.
    Thanks for the advise, I think i'll wait for the next shed and see what it looks like.
    Can you tell the name of the antifungal liquid in case I need to use it?

  15. #9
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Help with some head shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Edea_Tsuki View Post
    ...Can you tell the name of the antifungal liquid in case I need to use it?
    That was years ago & I don't think they still make or sell Conofite 1% (that was only sold for veterinary uses), but if you google that (or "miconazole nitrate") other (currently available) options should pop up. The version for humans is 2% (& is sold for athlete's foot, ring worm, etc.)- I'd be a bit cautious about using the stronger (2%) products on a snake, but the tiny amount dabbed only on the aberrant scales w/ a Q-tip shouldn't hurt anything anyway, if that's all you can find where you are. It's sold in any drugstore, over the counter- not prescription. And again, "if" the issue is a skin fungus, it will take a while with regular (but small & local- ie. just on the "odd" scales) applications to clear it. All the best.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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