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How Do I Know If My Snake Is Dying? Oh No!

How Do I Know If My Snake Is Dying? Oh No!

The signs that your snake could be ill or injured are typically very subtle.

By the time you realize your snake is sick, it could be too late, and your pet may be dying.

Learn to recognize behavioral changes in your pet snake that could point to a problem, before it jeopardizes your snake’s health and wellbeing.

Always consult with a veterinarian when you have concerns.


How do I know if my snake is dying?

Changes in normal behaviors, such as loss of appetite, isolative behaviors, and discoloration along their underside, are all symptoms that merit a trip to your vet. Lethargy, limpness, and hazy eyes also indicate that your snake has a problem and could be dying.


Signs that your Snake is Dying

Any changes in your snake’s behavior should be cause for alarm.

The signs of a sick snake can be subtle and get overlooked until it is too late to treat your snake’s underlying condition.

Prevent heartbreak and the loss of a beloved pet by learning to spot the signs of sickness, early, including the following snake symptoms.



Has your snake been acting less active than usual? This could be a sign of illness, but it may also be indicative of your pet not being warm enough.

A chilly snake may act lethargic. Check the habitat’s heater and lights.


Isolative Behavior

If your usually social snake starts isolating and hiding, they may be sick. There are distinctions between this behavior and shyness.

Since you know your pet best, only you can determine if this is normal behavior for your snake or not, and if not, see your vet.


Loss of Appetite

There are times of the year when snakes eat much less, but if this goes on for a prolonged time, your snake could be sick.


Weight Loss

Additionally, snakes that lose weight may be ill.

Usually, you can tell by the upper body and you may feel the bones of their vertebrae when handling your pet.



Could your pet be dehydrated?

Some signs include sunken eyes and mucus or saliva that is stringy and thick. See your veterinarian right away.



Your snake could have a serious blood disease if you notice reddening or pink discoloration along its belly.

Sepsis is an often fatal bacterial infection that requires immediate medical intervention.


Not sticking out its tongue

If you notice that your snake is not licking and sticking its tongue out as snakes do, it could be a sign of weakness, fatigue, and sickness.

Snakes typically dart out their tongue to investigate their surroundings. When they stop this behavior, it should be cause for concern.



Sick or frail snakes will go limp rather than move. They may also coil away from their human handlers.


Mucus and Phlegm

Do you notice mucus or phlegm around your snake’s nose? How about saliva bubbles around the mouth?

Your pet could be suffering from pneumonia, which can be fatal. See a veterinary provider immediately.


Skin Shedding

All snakes shed but be cautious when skin shedding appears to be an issue.

See your vet when you notice patches of peeling skin or dry spots on your snake. This could be an underlying symptom of a more serious medical issue.


Hazy Eyes

If your snake’s eyes- one or both- are hazy or cloudy, they could be suffering from a bacterial infection.

Any serious infection if prolonged poses a significant risk of death.

Treatment consists of medicated eye drops, which your vet should be able to prescribe as needed.


Red and Black Spots

Do you notice small red and black spots near the pet’s eyes or mouth? This could be a symptom of a snake might infection.

While common, this condition can contribute to loss of appetite and aggressive behavior- see a vet to treat your pet’s discomfort.


Swollen Jaw

If your snake presents with a swollen jaw or swollen gums, it could be suffering from an infection.

You will need to obtain antibiotics from your veterinary provider right away.


Egg Binding

If your female snake exhibits a loss of appetite and subsequent swelling of its lower half, it could be experiencing egg binding.

Egg binding is a condition that occurs when an egg becomes stuck and is unable to be passed by the snake, causing her body to swell. See a vet promptly.


Keeping Your Snake Well

Are you doing something that could be causing your snake’s symptoms?

Be sure you know what’ll you’ll do to make your pet snake thrive.

  • Never bring a snake out of the wild for a pet. Instead, buy or adopt from reputable sources.
  • Take a new pet snake to a vet for it to undergo a wellness check-up.
  • Plan to see your exotic pet veterinary provider at least once a year.
  • Always keep your snake’s enclosure clean. Bacteria in the habitat can contribute to a sick snake.
  • Talk to your veterinarian whenever you notice any changes in your snake’s usual behavior.

Before bringing home a pet snake, make sure to do your homework. Find out the best environment, food, and habitat for your distinct snake to ensure they are happy and healthy at home.


Frequently Asked Question About How Do I Know If My Snake Is Dying


How Can I Tell if My Snake is Hibernating or Dead?

A hibernating snake will respond if you pick them up or touch them, while a deceased snake is cold to the touch and limp. There could be a chance that your pet is not dead, so do not bury or dispose of your snake immediately- it is always best to take your pet to the vet first.


What If My Snake Dies? What Should I Do?

If your snake dies, you have a couple of options including burying your pet or cremation. A vet will arrange the interment, typically at a communal animal cemetery, or you can bury their remains on your own. Always obtain permission from the landowner when choosing to bury a pet’s remains.


What Kind of Illnesses Can Kill My Snake?

There are some injuries and illnesses that will be fatal for snakes, including Septicemia. This is a blood infection that your pet may contract but not show symptoms of until it is too late to save them. This reinforces why it is important to take your pet to the vet for any changes in routine behaviors to ensure they are not sick.



Snake husbandry is the study and care of snakes.

If you have a pet snake, make sure that you are familiar with their behaviors and routines to notice when and if there is a problem that could cause death.

Since it is common for snakes to ‘suffer in silence’ and to die slowly and subtly, regular veterinary care is integral for early detection of an issue.