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Ask Anna Your Own Question
Anna, Reptile Expert, Biologist
Category: Reptile
Satisfied Customers: 11066
Experience:  Have owned turtles, snakes, amphibians, and lizards. Study and provide habitat for wild herps.
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my ball python keeps rubbing his head against the walls of

Customer Question

my ball python keeps rubbing his head against the walls of the tank and against his body. he also frequently opens his mouth. please help, i dont want to lose him.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Reptile
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.

I'm sorry to see that no one has responded to your question earlier. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online and saw your question. If you still need help, some additional information will be useful.

What temperature gradient do you have in the cage?

Does his skin seem pale or gray?

Are his eyes whitish?

How often is he opening his mouth?

Thank you.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
he stoped opening his mouth and the temps are 80 degrees. the skin on his head is pealing though. the last time he shed was like 3 days ago, so whats going on???
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. I recommend that you have your snake examined by a reptile vet. The strange body movements and abnormal shed can be signs of something called inclusion body disease. This has become quite common in pythons. Some of the symptoms are subtle, such as abnormal shedding. Other signs can include regurgitation of food, weight loss, and in-coordination. Snakes won’t exhibit all the signs. You can read more about it at the following site.

There are other possibilities as well. Other infections could cause these symptoms, as well as certain parasites. Any time a snake has an abnormal shed, it is an indication that something may be wrong. Your snake will need to be seen by a reptile vet. A local vet probably won’t be familiar enough with snake illnesses to effectively treat your snake. This link will help you find a reptile vet:

In the meantime, you may want to adjust your temperatures. There should be a gradient so the snake can find an area that is most comfortable at any given time. You want the daytime ambient air temperature throughout the enclosure to be maintained between 80-85*F (27-29* C), with a basking area at 90*F (32.5* C). At night, the ambient air temperature on the cool side may be allowed to drop down to 73-75*F ( 23-24* C), but no lower, and only if a basking area of at least 80*F (27* C) is provided.

If you have more questions, or need help finding a vet, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope your python will be fine.


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