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Thread: Help!

  1. #1
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    Help!

    I need some help from people that are more educated on snakes and ball pythons urgently! My snake, who is a piebald ball python, 4-5 years old and a male, has suddenly started acting weirdly. He has randomly become really wobbly in his movement and when he tries to strike at prey he misses completely by like half a foot which is very strange for him as before he had perfect accuracy. I put the rat right in front of his face and he grabbed it but instantly let go and did this a few times. I left the rat in the tank with him as he is a bit shy and typically eats after being left alone with the rat for a few minutes. I feed him live and looking back i realized that leaving a live rat in the tank without watching was a very bad idea but normally it is fine. When I went back he was biting himself and the rat was chewing on him and he wasn't reacting at all. I instantly took the rat away but he continued to bite himself, it wasn't like he was trying to eat himself but he was just holding on and not letting go. After a bit I got him to stop biting himself but about a minute later he struck at his own body and then struck again and latched onto himself. Originally I thought that maybe he had eye caps stuck when he was having trouble striking so I gave him a bath but he had no stuck shed. Then I though maybe he mysteriously went blind but there would be no explanation to that as he has no damage to his eyes and is a young snake. Then since he was wobbly and it seemed like he couldn't feel or didn't care about him biting himself and the rat chewing on him I thought maybe it was a neurological problem. The nearest exotic vet is hours away and incredibly expensive and i cant afford the time or money. Can someone please help?

    Also what can I do for the wounds on him to help them heal and prevent them getting infected?

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    Unfortunately there really isn't anything we can suggest.

    A snake suddenly having neurological issues and now injuries from both itself AND a rat is in definite need of a veterinarian.

    I would definitely look for potential reasons for things. Some of the quick checks to make are:
    Have.any new chemicals have been used around the home?
    What are the current temps?
    Has there been exposure to possible extremely high temps?
    Exposure to extremely low temps?
    Has this animal possibly been exposed to a sick animal?
    Or do you have a new animal that possibly had a virus?
    Could the snake have injured itself somehow prior to this? (Sometimes the self inflicted bites are because of pain)

    Having answers to these may help the vet narrow down what's wrong.

    I really wish there was something else I could suggest, but this isn't a simple thing you can quickly fix.

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  4. #3
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    Re: Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rreptilelvrr View Post
    Also what can I do for the wounds on him to help them heal and prevent them getting infected?
    You could replace your substrate with something clean, like newspaper or paper towels. You could also treat the wounds with betadine solution diluted to 10 parts water to 1 part betadine. I would apply the solution with a cotton swab or q-tip because bathing a snake with neurological problems risks drowning. Applying Vetericyn would be even better, if you have access to it. Then, get your snake to a vet. You don't have access to an exotic vet, then a non-exotic vet is better than nothing.

    I'm so sorry you've had to go through all this. With all the love that comes with keeping pets comes the possibility of heartbreak. Hopefully, the cause is something environmental that can be corrected quickly and your snake makes a complete recovery. Let us know how it goes.
    Last edited by Homebody; 02-06-2024 at 09:25 AM.
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    In case there's a closer vet you've overlooked, this may help you locate them: https://members.arav.org/search/custom.asp?id=3661

    Your snake really does NEED vet care- the bites from a rat are likely to get infected & may cause great harm to your snake- he should probably be on an appropriate antibiotic from a herp vet.

    It's never "fine" to leave a live rodent (especially a rat!) in with a snake. Feeding pre-killed rodents is much safer for pet snakes- because sooner or later, your snake will be injured by live.

    I agree with the post above by Homebody for first aid treatment of your snake's wounds, but it won't stop a systemic problem from the rat bites. And the behavior (unsteadiness) in your snake sounds like he may be ill anyway- it was a bad idea to feed him when he's in this condition.

    When snakes bite themselves, it can be a response to internal pain they are feeling- as if they think they're defending themselves from whatever is causing that pain. If you cannot afford the time or money to take proper care of this snake (especially right now-he needs immediate help!) then please give him to someone who can & will provide for his needs. We owe our pets that much.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    Re: Help! (Update)

    Thank you for your suggestions. I put him in a large bin separate from his tank with some paper towels because his substrate was getting into his wounds, I also cleaned his wounds with just water as i don't own any betadine. I was able to find a vet a bit closer due to the link so thank you. I am trying to scrounge up any cash I have laying around so I can take him to the vet as soon as possible but I cant get him there until at least the end of the week maybe later. I am used to owning geckos so i didn't realize what a problem it was to leave live prey in with snakes until now so thank you for informing me. I feel horrible that something I did resulted in my snake getting hurt and I should have done more research about the negatives of live feeding. If I dont have enough money or arent able to get him to the vet soon i may have to give him up to someone who can even if that would break my heart. Thank you all so much for the advice and for informinabout what I did wrong as a snake owner. From now on I will try to feed him thawed prey instead of live, I switched to live prey because he was picky when young and haven't tried frozen since because there hasn't been a problem with live till now. If i realize that I cant take care of him I will give him up because that would be whats best for him despite how I would feel

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    Re: Help! (Update)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rreptilelvrr View Post
    Thank you for your suggestions. I put him in a large bin separate from his tank with some paper towels because his substrate was getting into his wounds, I also cleaned his wounds with just water as i don't own any betadine. I was able to find a vet a bit closer due to the link so thank you. I am trying to scrounge up any cash I have laying around so I can take him to the vet as soon as possible but I cant get him there until at least the end of the week maybe later. I am used to owning geckos so i didn't realize what a problem it was to leave live prey in with snakes until now so thank you for informing me. I feel horrible that something I did resulted in my snake getting hurt and I should have done more research about the negatives of live feeding. If I dont have enough money or arent able to get him to the vet soon i may have to give him up to someone who can even if that would break my heart. Thank you all so much for the advice and for informinabout what I did wrong as a snake owner. From now on I will try to feed him thawed prey instead of live, I switched to live prey because he was picky when young and haven't tried frozen since because there hasn't been a problem with live till now. If i realize that I cant take care of him I will give him up because that would be whats best for him despite how I would feel

    There are plenty of people who can help you here with switching your snake onto F/T. Mistakes happen, it is a part of life! We just have to do our best to fix things that go wrong which is what you are doing now. Keep us updated, and try to get him to the vet as soon as possible.
    Be kind, and inspire others to be kind.

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    Re: Help! (Update)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rreptilelvrr View Post
    Thank you for your suggestions. I put him in a large bin separate from his tank with some paper towels because his substrate was getting into his wounds, I also cleaned his wounds with just water as i don't own any betadine. I was able to find a vet a bit closer due to the link so thank you. I am trying to scrounge up any cash I have laying around so I can take him to the vet as soon as possible but I cant get him there until at least the end of the week maybe later.
    Unlike exotic vets, Betadine is neither expensive nor far away. You'll find it in the first-aid section of your local drugstore. That little bit of effort and expense will go a long way toward helping your snake pull through.

    No sense in kicking yourself over your mistakes. We've all made them. Learn from them and move on. A neurological condition is challenging for even experienced keepers to handle. So, if you find you can't handle it, there is no shame in surrendering him to someone who can.
    Last edited by Homebody; 02-07-2024 at 09:39 AM.
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    Re: Help! (Update)

    Quote Originally Posted by Homebody View Post
    Unlike exotic vets, Betadine is neither expensive nor far away. You'll find it in the first-aid section of your local drugstore. That little bit of effort and expense will go a long way toward helping your snake pull through.

    No sense in kicking yourself over your mistakes. We've all made them. Learn from them and move on. A neurological condition is challenging for even experienced keepers to handle. So, if you find you can't handle it, there is no shame in surrendering him to someone who can.
    Bear in mind that "Betadine" is a brand name. The product is povidone iodine and you can find a bottle of the generic stuff for around $5 at a grocery store, drug store, Wal-Mart, etc. in the first aid section.

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    Re: Help! (Update)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rreptilelvrr View Post
    Thank you for your suggestions. I put him in a large bin separate from his tank with some paper towels because his substrate was getting into his wounds, I also cleaned his wounds with just water as i don't own any betadine. I was able to find a vet a bit closer due to the link so thank you. I am trying to scrounge up any cash I have laying around so I can take him to the vet as soon as possible but I cant get him there until at least the end of the week maybe later. I am used to owning geckos so i didn't realize what a problem it was to leave live prey in with snakes until now so thank you for informing me. I feel horrible that something I did resulted in my snake getting hurt and I should have done more research about the negatives of live feeding. If I dont have enough money or arent able to get him to the vet soon i may have to give him up to someone who can even if that would break my heart. Thank you all so much for the advice and for informinabout what I did wrong as a snake owner. From now on I will try to feed him thawed prey instead of live, I switched to live prey because he was picky when young and haven't tried frozen since because there hasn't been a problem with live till now. If i realize that I cant take care of him I will give him up because that would be whats best for him despite how I would feel
    Hey, "Betadine" is just the expensive "brand name" version- you can cheaply buy "povidone-iodine" for wound care in any drug store or Walmart or most grocery stores. It's the same thing.
    It's good to have on hand for treating YOUR wounds also. Just remember to dilute it for reptile use, as Homebody mentioned.


    OOPS, I knew I should have read bcr229's post before I answered.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-07-2024 at 01:28 PM.
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