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A Post About Hydration and Shedding
AKA, Why It’s Fucking Important to Make Sure Your BP is Getting Enough Water in Its System.
This post is going to be addressing Ball Pythons specifically but a lot of this information is applicable to any snake.
Female with textbook patchy shed. The skin on her belly has come off as it is subjected to the most wear and tear however the rest of the skin is still stuck. Notice the “tightness” of the skin around her neck and the overall dried out appearance, this is a BP that is not receiving enough water! (Image credit)
Problems with shedding are probably some of the most commonly encountered issues for keepers of all snakes across the board and although there is a spectrum of reasons that can cause a snake to produce dry patchy sheds, more often than not the issue lays in an inability for the animal to get enough water into its system. Water is a key component to the shedding process because when your BP is in deep blue/opaque, it is producing fluid between the old and new skin. This fluid will ultimately aid in the skins removal and when there is not enough water to produce it, this results in flaky, dry, and generally patchy sheds. This is the main reason why whenever I am personally asked about bad sheds, my immediate reaction is to suggest bumping ambient humidity and doing weekly soaks which will help ensure that your BP is receiving enough water.
This animal is exhibiting a “tight” skin, which you can identify by the ridges of skin throughout the body. This is another sign that a BP is not receiving enough water to keep itself hydrated.
Dehydrated BPs that produce dry sheds like this are nothing but bad news and can lead to a host of other problems when the issue is not addressed. Retained spectacles (or eye caps) can potentially cause blindness, eye infections, or tearing of the skin that connects the spectacle to the rest of the scales when not properly removed. Unshed skin interferes with absorption of heat/liquid and can even cut of circulation to other areas of the body such as the tail. Not to mention that it’s just generally uncomfortable for the snake.
Dented or wrinkled spectacles are a common sign of poor hydration as there is an insufficient amount of fluid to allow the caps to retain their proper shape. (Image credit)
Necrotic tail tip as a result from retained shed, the dead flesh will need to be surgically removed by a vet. (Image credit)
When your BP goes into shed, you don’t want them to look too uncomfortable. Pinkness of the skin, namely the belly, and some bloating/puffiness in the face with some wrinkling throughout the body are all acceptable appearances that mean they are getting enough water to produce the fluid to help them shed smoothly.
Both of these BPs are at different stages in their shedding process. The male Lesser had reached his “peak” in the blue/opaque process, this is when the fluid is most visible to our eyes and results in a the hazy appearance, and is due to have another week before he sheds the old skin. The female Spider is past her peak and to the inexperienced eye, appears to have already shed off her skin, but upon examination of her eye cap, it’s clear she has not.
The eye is still vaguely milky and slight haziness is visible around the edges of each scale.
Male’s eye is also very hazy. Also note the pinkness of his lighter scales, which is perfectly normal as well.
You can see that both of these BPs are not dried out in appearance and look more or less the same they would on any other day asides for the colour. This has been achieved through regular misting and soaking as well as a rack system that helps retain humidity inside the tub where is belongs and overall maintenance of an environment that provides them with enough water for them to stay happy and healthy. Things simple as providing a humid hide, adding mosses that will help retain moisture, a readily accessible source of water, a contained environment (patch up those screen tops!), and occasionally physically offering drinks with a wash bottle, along with regular misting and soaking will all greatly improve hydration levels for your BP. These techniques are especially important if you have doubts that your BP is drinking enough water on its own because yes, they will sometimes actually let themselves get dehydrated without careful monitoring on your part.
So folks, please take action to improve the moisture levels for your snakes! There’s no reason to let them stay dehydrated when the solutions are so simple.
my cat keeps shedding everywhere what can i do
What? Cats? You obviously are mocking me asking about cats (those horrid creatures). But I’ll answer none the less. After you have brought it into your home and treated it almost as well as yourself, it repays you by shedding everywhere. There are a few reasons why this mutinous act occurs: it doesn’t like you, it doesn’t like your furniture, you didn’t like it first, or your house is stifling and your torturing it. There are a few ways to solve this: Give it away, buy new furniture, punish it and make it like you less, live with it, or relocate to a colder place.
Searching, Shedding, Shields and Sharing
Searching. Because of loneliness
Trying to find ‘The One’
Where could he be?
Sick of waiting.
Tired of falling and not being caught
Forget past heartbreaks
Beginning to move on
Move along as time goes by
Weight being lifted off my shoulders
Gravity fades away
New beginnings happening
Unaware that I’m about to jump off
A cliff that tempts me
Pushes me to do so
Persuade me, that the fall
Won’t be a painful one
“It’ll be different this time.”
Shields. Barriers. Walls.
Conscious of the fall
Must put my armour on
Don’t want to be injured
Hide my heart.
Do whatever it takes.
Box it, lock it, freeze it.
Cold and hard, an icy stone
“Not happening again. Ever.” I say
Where were they?
It’s too late now.
Emergency! It’s vulnerable!
Too late. It’s been stolen.
Sharing, his warm hand in mine.
Partners in crime.
Knowing glances, inside jokes, nonverbal cues
Laughter and happiness
Forever and ever is beginning
Forever and ever,
Each day hoping it’ll last