Funky belly scales

Discussion in 'Newbies forum' started by McCarthyFarms, Oct 7, 2019.

  1. McCarthyFarms

    McCarthyFarms New Member

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    Hey everyone.
    I'm a first time snake owner, have had my young Jungle python for a couple of months now and he's been doing great. He's good to handle, eats well and has shed once shortly after I got him.

    I had him out the other day and he was fine to handle and I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary until after I had put him back in his tub, and saw that a few of his belly scales seemed to be flaking/peeling.

    I fed him today and he ate fine, and just now he was out of his hide and hanging out on his perches, and I could see those belly scales again. There's a few cm of scales that are clear/transparent looking, and look perhaps like stuck shed? I'm not too sure as I haven't had him long. The shed he did when I first got him was entire, didn't seem like anything was missing or like he had any issues.

    The only thing I can find while googling is scale rot, but I don't think that's it. I could be wrong though!
    I don't have any photos and don't really want to handle him right now to get some to attach here, as I've just fed him this morning and don't want to disturb him too much. Any thoughts on what this could be? I could be worried for nothing but I love this little dude and want to solve any issues before they get out of control.

    Other than that he's bright, alert, has been feeding and pooping fine.

    Any help would be appreciated!
     
  2. Neil j

    Neil j Well-Known Member

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    Scale rot
    Betadine and water bath and a clean dry cage and It should shed out.
     
  3. Blighty

    Blighty Not so new Member

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    If this is indeed scale rot, it might be an idea to confirm husbandry too. The substrate isn't moist is it? High humidity/ too much moisture can be a cause.
     
  4. McCarthyFarms

    McCarthyFarms New Member

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    From everything I’ve researched, scale for is from too high humidity. I’m fairly sure that’s not the cause (but definitely not ruling anything out!)
    Substrate is just paper towel on the floor of his tub. It gets changed when he poops or if any water gets spilled on it, so I don’t think it’s been too moist in the enclosure. Plenty of ventilation. It’s a pretty bare bones tub - water, hide, perches.
     
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  5. Neil j

    Neil j Well-Known Member

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    It doesn’t take much, One spill of the water bowl or wet / pissed substrate will do it
     
  6. McCarthyFarms

    McCarthyFarms New Member

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    Ah bugger! Thanks for that.
    So, a betadine bath? I don’t really want to handle him much since he just ate - should I do it anyway or will it be okay to wait a day or two for him to digest a bit more?
    --- Automatic Post Merged, Oct 8, 2019, Original Post Date: Oct 8, 2019 ---
    Well this morning I came down to find the enclosure completely filled with condensation - something that has never happened before, but assuming due to husband having the aircon on all day and then it being off over night. Everything was saturated so I had no choice but to pull him out and give it all a good clean and dry.

    Feeling pretty down now, as everything I'm reading about scale rot is saying it's due to poor husbandry practices and I felt I was doing a good job for my little dude and keeping his enclosure clean as soon as I noticed anything off.

    I've given him a betadine soak this morning, and swapped out his waterbowl for a smaller one to try and reduce humidity. Gave the whole tub a good scrub and dry as well.
    We are in SEQ, and pretty warm through the day. Going to turn his heat mat off throughout the day and back on over night...will that help at all?


    How long does it typically take to clear up? Should I soak him once a day, twice? I feel horrid. Poor little dude. It extends further than I thought, and there's a bit of redness too.
     
  7. Herptology

    Herptology Well-Known Member

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    What does your setup look like???

    Flaky scales can also be caused by excessive belly heat - it would be more crusty than flaky though

    Condensation is caused by heat and moisture, whether the moistures caused by water bowl, or urine

    If you can’t post a picture here, use imgbb.com to upload a picture then copy the link it provides

    Are you running a thermostat? What wattage heat mat? Do you have a cool end? Etc
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  8. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    From what you've described it doesn't sound like scale rot to me. Scale rot usually presents as small clear blisters that quickly turn a deep red and/or dark brown and spread along the ventral surface due to a bacterial infection. It is a result of a snake being exposed to on-going excess moisture from high humidity and/or condensation which, from what you've described, doesn't sound like is the case here.

    It may be a result of a slight injury, retained shed that has gone unnoticed or a burn from ground heating.

    It's to hard to give any advice without photos of the snake or the set up. Give it a day or so to digest its feed and post a couple of pics.
     
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  9. McCarthyFarms

    McCarthyFarms New Member

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    Have attached some photos, hope it works.

    His set up is pretty basic until we move him up to a permanent larger enclosure.
    Sistema "click-clack" tub with paper towel substrate. Water bowl at one end (I've given a smaller bowl today to try and reduce humidity?), and hide at the other. Dowel perches above the water. Heat mat under a ceramic tile, and under the hide end of the tub. It's an 8W mat. Ventilation holes along both sides and in the lid.

    His "scale rot" or potential burns?? Is like flaking scales on the uppermost part of it. The lower section has a couple of reddish discolourations. He seems happy enough, is fine being handled and his usual self. 73023184_909435949436055_5313325890380234752_n.jpg 72186726_393449864942229_3191156212687175680_n.jpg 71688110_2718055614881858_6747164618654744576_n.jpg 71764970_249187282656057_609945373904994304_n.jpg

    73023184_909435949436055_5313325890380234752_n.jpg

    72186726_393449864942229_3191156212687175680_n.jpg

    71688110_2718055614881858_6747164618654744576_n.jpg
     
  10. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Okay. That reddish discolouration is definitely a sign of infection and the first indication of possible scale rot. Looking at the photos and reading your description of the set up I'd say that it started as a result of burn from spending to much time under the hide on the heat mat. The enclosure needs to be kept dry to avoid the infection spreading as any excessive moisture will contribute to further the infection. So, the first thing I'd recommend is to keep treating the entire area by applying betadine using a cotton bud daily and avoid soaking the snake. You can also remove the water bowl to reduce/eliminate condensation and offer a small bowl of drinking water for a short period once a week (leave it in the enclosure for around 24 hours but remove it if you notice any condensation happening and replace it when the heat source is turned off). Next thing to do would be to connect the heat mat to a thermostat and set it to around 28 deg C for between 10 - 12 hours a day. Personally I don't like hides over heat mats. The idea of a hide is to provide a safe refuge for a snake to retreat and chill out once it has reached it's optimal body temperature so it can thermoregulate properly. Personally I'd move the hide off the heat mat to where the water bowl is currently situated.

    This method of early treatment usually is enough to nip an early infection like this in the butt but, if the infection increases it may require you to consult a vet (and not just any vet but one who is experienced in treating snakes).

    I hope this helps and your snake recovers.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  11. McCarthyFarms

    McCarthyFarms New Member

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    Thank you so much for your advice! That’s exactly what I needed. He does spend a lot of time under the hide. I hate that I’ve caused it to injure him!
    Will make the appropriate changes and hope that he starts to recover. In the meantime, I’ll have to research good snake vets around here.

    Thanks so much for your help. Really appreciate it.
     
  12. Herptology

    Herptology Well-Known Member

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    Do you mind me asking how the temperature is being controlled/ measured? I only ask because I can’t see a thermostat prob or thermometer

    In the case you have neither, they are a necessity for new keepers

    I would just recommend you get a thermostat(doesn’t have to be a 200$ one) such as microclimate or habistat

    Aswell as a temperature gun to monitor surface temps, these cost about 20$ for one off ebay

    Not sure about the tile, but you probably don’t need it, they’re used for when you need to put the heating inside the enclosure, sistema tubs have a high melting temp point
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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  13. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    There's some pretty good advice here already. It probably won't hurt if you're careful, but I wouldn't bother with the betadine bath - more potential to do harm than good here in my opinion (many would argue, and at the end of the day, your snake, your choice).

    I agree that it looks like mild burn caused by caused temperatures which has begun to become infected. The tub looks to be in an open space and the snake probably has decided it was safer to risk the high temperatures than to be exposed. As someone else said, there doesn't seem to be a thermostat, so in a small, exposed, single tub like that you'll have big temperature fluctuations, making it difficult for the snake to find a secure place with favourable temperatures (there probably actually isn't a secure place which is safe from dangerous temperatures in that tub - short periods of low temperature generally won't cause harm, but even very short periods of high temperatures easily cause harm.

    If everything else is fine, short periods of damp conditions or high humidity won't hurt. If anything else is wrong, they can be dangerous. Now that there is damaged skin, it's critical not to let the snake sit in damp conditions, and preferably don't let the skin get wet.

    I'd add more ventilation to that tub. I'm not at all a fan of holes drilled or melted into tubs, but if that's your method, I'd add more. I personally cut windows into the plastic and weld mesh over them, but do whatever works for you.

    The good news is that it looks fairly early and if you fix the temperature issue it should heal quickly. Getting the temperatures correct is the single most important aspect of keeping reptiles. The snake will no doubt already be going into a slough cycle, and if conditions are good there's every chance it will be 100% by the following slough. I'd personally give it a water bowl at all times, but one which can't be spilled and too small for the snake to get into. If you don't give a sick snake constant access to water I'd offer water daily. Snakes in good health are fine without daily access to water, but animals need more water when dealing with many types of illness, especially infections or injuries which need to heal.
     
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  14. McCarthyFarms

    McCarthyFarms New Member

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    Thanks guys. Appreciate the advice! I did have a thermostat in there but it was an old one I had around and wasn't accurate, and ended up dying and I just hadn't thought to replace it yet.
    I've been applying betadine via cotton bud daily, and gave him a smaller water dish that he can't get into. His heat has been off through the day and only on at night, and I switched the hide to the opposite end of the tub.

    He seems to be healing well - the redness has subsided, though the scales are still transparent. I'm hoping he will just shed them out when he sheds next?

    I'm still getting to know his habits as I haven't had him very long, but he's in his hide a lot more than usual lately. I'm trying to not handle him much other than applying the betadine.

    Sdaji - yes, he is in a fairly open area which I wanted to avoid but unfortunately we live in a small apartment - downstairs living area, and upstairs bedroom. It's built into the shed on our property so upstairs gets pretty darn hot, and though it's a lower traffic area I didn't want him to overheat up there. There's not really anywhere else safe for him to go - we have a young daughter that's just started crawling so she's into absolutely everything, and where he is on the desk is the only place she can't really reach him.

    I really appreciate all the advice I've received here - want to do my best by the little guy and though I thought I'd researched as much as I possibly could before I brought him home, it seems I've still made some mistakes that sadly have been to his detriment. I'm pretty bummed that I've caused him pain and want to do everything I can to provide the best for him. So thanks for taking the time to give advice, though I'm sure many of you are shaking your head at me.
     
  15. Sdaji

    Sdaji Almost Legendary

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    The critical thing to do at this point is to provide stable appropriate temperatures. If you have a sick snake you really want it either at the perfect temperature or (generally preferably) with a 24/7 appropriate thermal gradient. Temperature is by far the most important aspect of reptile husbandry and is especially important for sick or injured reptiles. Ideally, give him two hides to choose from. If you know what you're doing one or even no hides can be fine, but in a clear tub like that in a high traffic area it's absolutely essential that he has comfortable hiding options. It doesn't need to be anything fancy; an appropriately-sized yoghurt or margarine tub etc is completely fine.
     

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