Stargazing in Reptiles

You’ll know if your reptilian pet is stargazing—it is named for the way the animal twists his head and neck to stare upwards at the sky. Snakes are the most common reptile to exhibit this behavior, but other reptiles can stargaze as well. This unusual body position is not itself a disease or disorder, but a symptom. Here, an Indianapolis veterinarian tells you more about stargazing, what causes it, and what to do if your pet is exhibiting this behavior.


As mentioned above, stargazing is a symptom of some underlying condition. The reason the reptile’s head and neck twists is because of abnormal function of the central nervous system—therefore, any disease or condition that interrupts the regular function of the pet’s nervous system can cause stargazing. Snakes often stargaze as a result of a deadly disease known as inclusion body disease. Other possible underlying causes include infections from bacteria, parasites, or viruses, poisonous substances, and traumatic wounds. Ask your veterinarian for a possible cause of your reptile’s stargazing and other symptoms.

Coexisting Symptoms

Stargazing is a symptom that is often seen hand in hand with other symptoms. These might include tremors, seizures, disorientation, and the inability of an animal to right themselves from a position on their back. Call your veterinary professional right away if your pet is exhibiting any of these symptoms.


Stargazing itself is easy enough to identify—what may not be so easy is identifying the underlying cause. Your Indianapolis vet may have to take X-rays, blood tests, or tissue samples before being able to prescribe the correct treatment. If bacterial infection is causing the problem, antibiotics will be prescribed. If some sort of toxic substance is to blame, your vet may take steps to rid your pet’s body of the substance. Nutritional guidance and fluid therapy may also help.

If your reptilian pet is stargazing, something is causing the behavior and you need to make an appointment with your Indianapolis veterinarian right away. A quick diagnosis and treatment may make all the difference for your reptile.


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