Scrappy Shed

Discussion in 'Herp Help' started by emmadactryl, May 6, 2014.

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  1. emmadactryl

    emmadactryl Not so new Member

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    My spotted python is about fifteen months old. I've had her for a little over a year. She's always been an excellent shedder; never had a problem, never even seems like she's about to shed and then I'll find a perfect, complete skin in the tank the next morning. She's been fed quite a few times a day or two before she ends up shedding, purely because she's never refused a feed.

    I had a few issues with her earlier this year with a drastic change in temperament that came down to me not feeding her enough, so she got bumped up to fuzzy rats and put on a definite once a week feed. Over the past few months she's been feeding well, temperament is back to normal, and she's put on weight and gotten longer. All good. She went from shedding once every four weeks to every three weeks. Still all normal and good.

    Two weeks ago she shed, which caught me off guard because I'd just gotten used to her going three weekly. She was fed the day before and absolutely smashed the rat with her normal enthusiasm. The shed was awful. All in pieces just scattered about the cage. She got most off, but I got her out and sprayed her down and had to kind of massage off one tiny piece that was just still clinging on.

    I fed her Sunday. She smashed the rat, then hugged it and sniffed it for a bit, and I had to give the rat a bit of poking and wriggling to get her to eat it. I figured that's her telling me it's too cold for once a week feeds so I was going to hold off and give her at least a fortnight before I try again. I've gotten home this afternoon and found some pieces of skin in her enclosure, and she's in the middle of another shocking shed. Now this is the second time, I'm not putting it down to a once off thing and I want to try and fix whatever the problem is.

    This is, again, bang on two weeks, and since she was a bit so-so with her feed on Sunday, I'm planning on giving her three weeks before I next offer a feed, which will hopefully mean- if she goes for another fortnight then sheds- she won't get a meal right before to see if that makes a difference.

    Is there anything else it might be for her to all of a sudden go from easy, complete sheds to really crappy ones? Nothing has changed apart from it getting into autumn now. She's in a glass tank with a wood/wire lid. Has a water bowl that she really only pays attention to after she's been fed, when she drinks a crazy amount before going and hiding herself away. She has a heat mat on a thermostat set at 32 degrees celsius. She's got branches with rough bark and a rock as well as her hide in there. She's got recycled newspaper cat litter as substrate. She gets a clean out while she's out being fed, so once a week the substrate gets changed and the tank and everything in it gets F10'ed and wiped out.

    Any advice or insight is much appreciated. She's my first snake and the sum total of my experience, and since she's been such an easy shedder so far, this unfortunate new angle has got me confused and wondering what I'm doing wrong.
     
  2. Newhere

    Newhere Well-Known Member

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    Hey, maybe go back to feeding once every two weeks since she is on the right size food item and her temperament has gone back to normal, if you are feeding once a week she would always be digesting and that could be making her dehydrated and causing bad sheds. Also making her shed more often because she is growing quickly. Im not an expert but thats my theory from reading your post, hope it helps.
     
  3. dodgie

    dodgie Well-Known Member

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    If her shed is in bits then move the water bowl to a warmer part of the cage it sounds like her cage is to dry,you don't want the cage wet that's bad.I can have the same problem when the weather cools down so i move the water over a heat source and the water will evaporate faster making the air i bit more humid keeping her skin softer.
     
  4. emmadactryl

    emmadactryl Not so new Member

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    Okay, thanks. So could be humidity and dehydration? She's due for a bit of a cage upsize, so I'm going to be prioritising that and sorting out a set up that allows a bit more control over not just the temperature.

    She's in her hide at the moment, and I took the lid off to have a check on her and she looks miserable. She kind of huffed at me, and it's like she's trying to wriggle out of her skin; it looks like just one small piece has come off her back and the rest is just still on her. Any suggestions on how I can help her out with this shed?
     
  5. dodgie

    dodgie Well-Known Member

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    Upload a picture of her,sounds strange.Should be able to get it off herself.
     
  6. Stuart

    Stuart Site Admin Staff Member

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  7. emmadactryl

    emmadactryl Not so new Member

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    Thanks for the link. I've got TAFE today, so she'll have to wait until this afternoon for a full going over, unfortunately. Checked on her this morning and it doesn't look like she's come out of her hide overnight, she's still huffing at me, but at least she seems to have dropped off a few more scraps here and there. Hoping she'll have made a bit more progress by the time I get home, and I'll follow that thread to help her shed whatever is left.

    - - - Updated - - -

    So she got most of the skin off herself today, and I got the last big bit off after a nice long soak in the container, but she's got a piece left right up by her head that I can't massage off. The top is off, but it's underneath that's being a bit of a pain in the butt. Not sure if it extends to her jaw or not; I can't tell. She's being such a good snake and so insanely tolerant, but obviously me fiddling around her head is pushing the limit and I don't want to hurt her. She's not helping matters by insisting on keeping that part of her body out of the water in the container, but I'm giving her a bit longer in there and will try to get the last piece off by hand. If not, I'll have to pop her back in her enclosure and hope she sorts it out. If she doesn't, is there anything else I can try/use to help her out?
     
  8. whyme

    whyme Well-Known Member

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    Does sound like a humidity problem, but also check for mite. This can also lead to a bad shed.
     
  9. emmadactryl

    emmadactryl Not so new Member

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    Definitely no mites on her :)

    Rechecked this morning, and she has indeed got the piece of skin on her lower jaw from just behind her head left to go, and it also looks like a bit over one of her eyes. The lower jaw piece has come up a little bit since yesterday, but not as much as I was crossing my fingers for. I'm spraying her cage, and she got a spray all over as well before I put her back in, and will see if she needs another soak this evening, which I'm sure she'll be just thrilled about, lol.
     
  10. PDM_Pythons

    PDM_Pythons Not so new Member

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    Ok simple fix for next time.....your problem lays with the wire mesh lid (u cant ever hold any humidity using one and I strongly recommend changing it) I also don't like glass enclosures as temps can fluctuate through the seasons to much but that's JMO.....In future when u know your snake is in shed u need to cover for the best part the mesh lid (allowing for some form of ventilation but minimal) and while the week she is in shed place a larger diameter water bowl closer to the warm end...u wont have any other shed issues after this.
    Now to clean up the shed what she has left, place her in a pillow case in luke warm water (making sure she can access air so shallow water ) and leave her for an hr...the luke warm water will soften up the bits of skin left behind and the pillow case will gently rub it all off as she moves around, when u get her out just gently let her move through your hands to remove any excess that's left behind.
    Regards
    Pete
     
  11. Schnecke

    Schnecke Well-Known Member

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    My Jungle is a shocking shedder - Scrappy and it comes off like confetti if I don't mist his enclosure daily leading up to his shed. I am lucky that he has a distinct pattern when coming up to shed so I can be on top of it. I just give his enclosure a mist twice a day once he shows those signs and he sheds in 1 piece (with the shed being more elastic)
     
  12. Ramy

    Ramy Active Member

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    I have to disagree. My enclosures are glass tanks with mesh lids, and most of the time my snakes shed fine. I only get problems when its especially cold or dry. I have 1 tank that's melamine with only small vents, and that houses the snake that sheds worst.

    Meanwhile, Emma:
    I've had plenty of success with putting a snake in a damp pillowcase (dampened with warm water, but it cools down pretty quick) for about 30 min at a time. Not only does it mean they can't keep their head out, but it gives them something to rub against. That thread from SniperCap is also good; you'll learn what works for you with experience.
    I don't mist or use bigger water bowls or anything fancy; on the occasions where I do get a bad shed I just put them in a damp fabric bag and they sort themselves out. Assuming you clean the water bowl with those weekly cleans, she wouldn't be dehydrated.
     
  13. PDM_Pythons

    PDM_Pythons Not so new Member

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    u shouldn't get bad sheds if your husbandry is correct.... U live in a humid area of oz then fine but living in the cooler less humid areas then fully enclosed enclosures r the way to go... [MENTION=2185]Ramy[/MENTION] ... Plz don't contradict my posts... If u have a problem Pm me
    thanks
    Pete .
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2014
  14. Ramy

    Ramy Active Member

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    I'm sorry, I was under the impression this is a public forum where anyone could share their experiences and opinions? (And of course I have an extra responsibility, because the care of an animal is involved, to be careful about what advice I give.)

    My experience, after keeping my snakes for 8 years, is that my snakes shed perfectly more than 95% of the time. I keep those snakes in glass enclosures with open mesh tops and lots of ventilation - where the humidity in the enclosure matches the humidity in the rest of the house. I don't bother to mist or try to alter the humidity of my enclosures in any way because bad sheds are rare, and it is unnecessary effort. I have also observed that on the rare occasions where I do get a bad shed, it's when it's been excessively hot and dry or excessively cold without rain. I'm going off her statement that her python has previously shed very well, so it may very well be a temporary environmental change, not poor husbandry.

    It is my experience that my snakes stress if I interfere when they're due to shed, especially if I mist their enclosures. I prefer to react to a bad shed instead of harass my snakes in the unlikely event that they shed poorly. I have never had a complication from assisting my snakes to shed. Furthermore, plenty of more experienced keepers than me have had to assist in a shed. The link provided by SniperCap is a perfect example of this fact.

    I meant no malice in my post, and don't think I said anything wrong. I believe that my experience may be helpful to provide emmadactryl with a well-rounded perspective on the issue - There is more than 1 way to skin a cat. I think it is unhelpful to suggest that her enclosure isn't good enough.
     
  15. dodgie

    dodgie Well-Known Member

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    Snake need humidity and misting is very important.If a cage has to much ventilation the humid air will just evaporate drying out the snakes skin.

    If a snake can't shed every time your doing something wrong.I don't think stress affect's shedding.


    Ramy you must have a humid house.
     
  16. emmadactryl

    emmadactryl Not so new Member

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    When I say "wood and wire top", the wire part is a little under two thirds of the actual lid and the rest is wood; she's only had issues shedding for the past two times, which coincide with the little cold snap, and my hands and lips were cracking big time, which should have clued me in that the humidity had dropped quite a lot. I'll know next time that I start to have dry skin, that Indie will need some extra care to keep the humidity in her cage up.

    I'll try the wet pillow case trick and see how she goes. If I can't get this lot of shed and the eyecap off, is it safe to just leave her be and it'll come off with the next shed (which will hopefully be in about a week if she sticks with her new schedule)?

    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and information :)
     
  17. Ramy

    Ramy Active Member

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    There are things that dry air out, but the humidity in many houses is sufficient for a snake to shed. Things that dry air out include air conditioners and heaters, which can include our heating elements. You could buy a basic hyogrometer, often coupled with a thermometer, that can tell you when the humidity drops.

    There's some discussion of humidity in this thread: http://www.aussiepythons.com/forum/herp-help-38/bad-shed-207091/page/2#post2381353
    "When the air is cold it carries less moisture then when it is hot, so with a lot of air exchange from ventilation it is possible to suck in cold air with little moisture and heat the air with our heating element which allows to air to take on moisture from the enclosure and it exits out of the other vent."

    I've seen a bit of discussion on retained eye scales over time. Some people think you can do more harm poking around at the snake's eyes, but if you search the forum you'll find the different ways people do it, I believe there are a few suggestions in that "Bad Shed" thread. If the eye cap is stuck but the rest of the face isn't, that can be a symptom of mites. I've never had to remove one, so I can't tell you what I'd do sorry. The skin at the end of the tail absolutely has to be removed.
     
  18. emmadactryl

    emmadactryl Not so new Member

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    We never use the air con, nor a heater; shut the windows and rug up is my approach to winter. Her whole body minus one patch over her eye and one side of the top of her jaw, and the underside of her jaw up until just behind her neck is refusing to budge- although, having said that, her eye doesn't look as obviously still covered as before, so she might have ditched that piece. I'll have a look at that link, thanks :)
     
  19. emmadactryl

    emmadactryl Not so new Member

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    She shed last night and it is beautiful! :D One piece, unassisted shed, no dramas; she's all shiny and new. Humidity was definitely the issue.
     
  20. hayley29

    hayley29 New Member

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    Hi I'm new with reptiles I have a coastal carpet python new had her about a month and last night she shed but half her tail down didn't what should I do

    Sent from my LG-E450f using Tapatalk
     
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