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  1. #1
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    Is my BP starting a shed?

    I think my ball python has started to shed, but i am unsure as what to look for apart from the cloudy/blue eyes which he has. He has turned a very pale colour and looks wet, I only lifted his hide as he has not been out of it the past 2 days (not even at night and not once during the day) just to check if he is okay, temps are 87-90 on the warmer side and 80-83 on the cooler side, he has been drinking a lot of water before he got into this state and last fed on Tuesday (fed a medium mouse every week) and went into this state yesterday. I may be worrying too much but I do think hes just shedding as his last shed before I bought him was in September which is a good while ago.

    https://imgur.com/Tw3qUsm

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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry, he looks (& sounds) to me like he's in a shed cycle. They typically lie low (hide) for days at this time. You might want to make sure his humidity is at least 60%-70%, or if you're not sure, offer a humid hide. Drinking more water suggests he might need higher humidity right about now. Once he sheds, make sure to check the shed skin to ensure that his eye caps & tail tip came off all the way, & if not, give some gentle assistance. Leaving any old skin on causes problems, & only gets harder to remove.

    As far as telling when a snake is in shed, the longer you keep snakes, the more obvious it becomes. Time between sheds will vary a lot- they shed when they grow & need to shed, so don't worry. Eyes are usually the most obvious clue, but the overall grayish or pale look is typical, also just the way the skin folds on their neck looks very different before they shed compared to afterward. They usually prefer the cool side-hide when in shed too, & typically refuse meals if shedding soon.

    When you find the shed skin, assuming you find it fairly soon after he "disrobes", it will feel moist. That's because a snake secretes moisture between the old & new skin to facilitate the shedding process. If you're really careful, it's fun to unroll the shed (especially if it's intack) & flatten it out- you can see all their scales etc. The shed skin stretches a bit though, so it's not a perfect size measurement of a snake's length- the sheds are a little longer than the actual snake. (An easy way to help open up the shed is to blow air into the "mouth"- without actually touching the skin with your lips of course.)
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  4. #3
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    Re: Is my BP starting a shed?

    Gotcha, his humidity is around 65% right now but ive read online to bump it up to around 80% during shedding, is this ideal?

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  6. #4
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    80% is a little too high- 65-75% is plenty. Too much humidity makes it harder for them to breathe.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  8. #5
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    I guess this is a good of a spot as any to ask this question.

    I've read where a BP's belly will turn pink prior to shedding. And I do believe mine's belly is starting to look slightly pink.
    his eyes are not blue and cloudy yet though.

    so is the pink belly typically only a sign of getting ready to shed or is that somewhat normal and not necessarily a precursor to a shed?

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    Re: Is my BP starting a shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nutriaitch View Post
    I guess this is a good of a spot as any to ask this question.

    I've read where a BP's belly will turn pink prior to shedding. And I do believe mine's belly is starting to look slightly pink.
    his eyes are not blue and cloudy yet though.

    so is the pink belly typically only a sign of getting ready to shed or is that somewhat normal and not necessarily a precursor to a shed?
    My bp's belly turned from cream to a dark pink prior to a shed. The first time it happened scared me. I thought he had scale rot.
    1.0 Normal Children's Python (2022 - present)
    1.0 Normal Ball Python (2019 - 2021)

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    Re: Is my BP starting a shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nutriaitch View Post
    I guess this is a good of a spot as any to ask this question.

    I've read where a BP's belly will turn pink prior to shedding. And I do believe mine's belly is starting to look slightly pink.
    his eyes are not blue and cloudy yet though.

    so is the pink belly typically only a sign of getting ready to shed or is that somewhat normal and not necessarily a precursor to a shed?
    A pink belly is something to watch, as it can be one of several things: 1. A sign of impending shed (not all snakes show this), or 2. A sign of a thermal burn (double check your surface temperatures immediately if you're using UTH- & it had better be controlled by a reliable thermostat, fyi, & should not allow surface temps. where the snake can actually touch to go above 90* for safety. OR 3. A sign of septicemia (bacterial infection in the blood- very serious, often fatal).

    So as not to panic needlessly over every shed (which is the most common cause of a pink snake belly), learn ALL the signs of shedding. Signs are much harder to see in albino or other light colored snakes. Use a small narrow beam flashlight in dark room- shine the beam across the curve of the snake's eye caps- look for signs (hazy, milky). Realize that the eye caps don't stay foggy until the snake sheds- they go back to "clear" as does the rest of the snake's skin prior to shedding. That's because a healthy snake's body secretes moisture between the old & new skin to facilitate its removal- that's also why it helps somewhat to bump up the humidity for a snake in shed, & why you should care about their hydration 24/7. Once they're cloudy & shedding, it's a bit late to improve what's inside their body- it's also why snakes instinctively refuse meals when in shed, & why it's best NOT to feed one even if they'll eat. Some snakes have no trouble doing both (digesting & shedding) but many do- it can cause a stuck shed, because BOTH functions take extra hydration from the snake's body to accomplish. See?

    Other signs of shedding: refusing food, staying on the cool side, drinking more water, dull coloration, moodiness ("I vant to be alone! Ssss!") & sometimes you can see a faint double edge on the belly scutes. Another favorite sign of mine is very hard to explain, so study your snake & eventually you'll understand after seeing multiple sheds- but it has to do with how the skin folds in the snake's neck appear. The neck skin just looks different when a snake is in a shed cycle- & I'm talking about texture, not cloudiness.

    Also keep in mind that you can MISS some of these signs if you aren't observing your snake daily- ie. when they go "clear"- thanks to the moisture, it temporarily makes the cloudy skin look normal..."almost". So now that I've confused you thoroughly?
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  12. #8
    Registered User Nutriaitch's Avatar
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    Re: Is my BP starting a shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    A pink belly is something to watch, as it can be one of several things: 1. A sign of impending shed (not all snakes show this), or 2. A sign of a thermal burn (double check your surface temperatures immediately if you're using UTH- & it had better be controlled by a reliable thermostat, fyi, & should not allow surface temps. where the snake can actually touch to go above 90* for safety. OR 3. A sign of septicemia (bacterial infection in the blood- very serious, often fatal).

    So as not to panic needlessly over every shed (which is the most common cause of a pink snake belly), learn ALL the signs of shedding. Signs are much harder to see in albino or other light colored snakes. Use a small narrow beam flashlight in dark room- shine the beam across the curve of the snake's eye caps- look for signs (hazy, milky). Realize that the eye caps don't stay foggy until the snake sheds- they go back to "clear" as does the rest of the snake's skin prior to shedding. That's because a healthy snake's body secretes moisture between the old & new skin to facilitate its removal- that's also why it helps somewhat to bump up the humidity for a snake in shed, & why you should care about their hydration 24/7. Once they're cloudy & shedding, it's a bit late to improve what's inside their body- it's also why snakes instinctively refuse meals when in shed, & why it's best NOT to feed one even if they'll eat. Some snakes have no trouble doing both (digesting & shedding) but many do- it can cause a stuck shed, because BOTH functions take extra hydration from the snake's body to accomplish. See?

    Other signs of shedding: refusing food, staying on the cool side, drinking more water, dull coloration, moodiness ("I vant to be alone! Ssss!") & sometimes you can see a faint double edge on the belly scutes. Another favorite sign of mine is very hard to explain, so study your snake & eventually you'll understand after seeing multiple sheds- but it has to do with how the skin folds in the snake's neck appear. The neck skin just looks different when a snake is in a shed cycle- & I'm talking about texture, not cloudiness.

    Also keep in mind that you can MISS some of these signs if you aren't observing your snake daily- ie. when they go "clear"- thanks to the moisture, it temporarily makes the cloudy skin look normal..."almost". So now that I've confused you thoroughly?
    the pink may have been a lighting issue too.
    when I looked again it was one of those "ok, maybe it's a little pink-ish. then again maybe not. wait kinda. no not really"
    so maybe my LED lighting (light fixtures in ceiling, not lights in snakes enclosure) are throwing me off depending on angle.

    the floor is definitely not anywhere close to 90. I don't have a way to check just the floor.
    but it's about 75 in the enclosure itself.
    my hand touching the cool and warm side does feel the difference, but the warm side damn sure ain't "hot" by any stretch. it's more along the lines of "not cold".

  13. #9
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    Re: Is my BP starting a shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nutriaitch View Post
    the pink may have been a lighting issue too.
    when I looked again it was one of those "ok, maybe it's a little pink-ish. then again maybe not. wait kinda. no not really"
    so maybe my LED lighting (light fixtures in ceiling, not lights in snakes enclosure) are throwing me off depending on angle.

    the floor is definitely not anywhere close to 90. I don't have a way to check just the floor.
    but it's about 75 in the enclosure itself.
    my hand touching the cool and warm side does feel the difference, but the warm side damn sure ain't "hot" by any stretch. it's more along the lines of "not cold".
    Highly suggest you get an accurate digital thermometer (aka "temp gun"), your hands won't do it. Reason: we're roughly 98.6* so unless the snake's home is hotter than that, it feels cool to us- when it's actually WAY too hot for your snake! You NEED an accurate thermometer..."yesterday".

    And fyi, 75* ambient in the enclosure is too cool for a BP- when they're too cool, their immune system doesn't function well & they can get seriously sick with things they've already been exposed to. Temperatures are critical for successful snake keeping- it's your responsibility to get it right, since the snake is your prisoner & cannot seek out the conditions its body needs to digest & function properly. Snakes aren't like other pets- their bodies cannot make their own warmth to function- it's up to us to provide them.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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  15. #10
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    Re: Is my BP starting a shed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Highly suggest you get an accurate digital thermometer (aka "temp gun"), your hands won't do it. Reason: we're roughly 98.6* so unless the snake's home is hotter than that, it feels cool to us- when it's actually WAY too hot for your snake! You NEED an accurate thermometer..."yesterday".

    And fyi, 75* ambient in the enclosure is too cool for a BP- when they're too cool, their immune system doesn't function well & they can get seriously sick with things they've already been exposed to. Temperatures are critical for successful snake keeping- it's your responsibility to get it right, since the snake is your prisoner & cannot seek out the conditions its body needs to digest & function properly. Snakes aren't like other pets- their bodies cannot make their own warmth to function- it's up to us to provide them.
    10/4, I'll get one.
    what temp should his enclosure be to get it right? and any suggestions to raise it?
    Last edited by Nutriaitch; 04-09-2024 at 08:30 PM.

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