Shedding Problems in Snakes

One of the things that are interesting about snakes is the way they shed their skin to grow. Normally, a healthy snake should be able to go through the shedding process without difficulty, but every now and then, a reptile may run into trouble. In this article, your vet Geist discusses some problems that could arise from your snake’s shedding.

Incomplete Shedding

Snakes should shed their entire skin in one piece. The process is almost like turning a sock inside out. After your snake is done shedding, inspect the skin. The shed skin should be whole. If there are any pieces missing, your pet may not have shed his entire skin. Incomplete shedding may not sound like much of a problem, but it can actually cause your scaled buddy some serious problems. Your pet serpent could develop a severe skin infection, and could possibly even die! Contact your vet immediately if your reptilian friend hasn’t completely shed his skin.

Retained Eye Caps

Snakes have clear scales in front of their eyes. These scales work like eyelids, and should be shed with the rest of his skin. Occasionally, this part of the old skin will not shed properly, and the old skin will remain stuck to the snake’s eyes. This is known as retaining eyecaps. Always check your pet’s old skin to be sure that the skin around his eyes was shed. If there are eyeholes in the old snakeskin, he may have retained his eye caps. Contact your veterinarian for assistance if you suspect your scaled pal hasn’t shed his eyecaps. You don’t want to damage your pet’s eyes!


Occasionally a snake will encounter a wound or trauma, which will complicate shedding. You’ll be able to tell, because the new skin will look raw. Check with your vet if you suspect skin trauma or damage.

Preventing Problems

Poor environment is often the culprit when a reptile has trouble shedding. Make sure your pet’s cage is set at right temperature and humidity level for his breed. Many snakes require a rough surface to rub against, which will help them remove old skin. Shedding aids, such as moss, soaking pools, and commercial shedding products, may also help.

If your snake has had trouble shedding, please contact us to make an appointment. To read more pet care articles from your vet clinic Geist, please visit our site here.

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