My Spotted Python's belly scales are flaking?

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Nov 15, 2021
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Hi there, thanks for checking out my first ever post! I have owned several species of pythons before but this is a new one for me so I am hoping for some insight & advice.

I got this gorgeous four year old female spotted python off Gumtree only a couple of weeks ago, and have noticed that her belly scales are flaking off - not the whole scale, what's coming off looks like fish scales?? I suppose it is the very top layer of the scale, I've drawn a yellow arrow on one of the photos to point out what the scales look like that she's losing (they are transparent and very very thin, certainly not breaking her skin, and her scales are otherwise healthy), but I haven't seen this before and Google wasn't very helpful at all. I have given her a couple of baths in mildly warm water, and she doesn't seem to be suffering any ill-effects, she is still active and curious, but I'm not sure how this will affect her first shed and was hoping for some insight or experience with this phenomenon and how to fix it so it doesn't happen anymore!

Thank you for any advice - I do wear prescription face and neck sunblock, and it was suggested in a post on another site that scales flaking could be due to (mineral) oil making contact with the snake so that is something I am considering as a culprit for lack of other information, particularly considering her scales are only flaking on her belly.

Thanks again!


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Mineral oil is terrible for snakes :/ it basically causes the scales to fall off or *slough* off --- this isthe most likely cause for the scales, Not sure how you will overcome this if it is prescription and regularly worn

Flaking can also be a sign of NidoVirus which is definitely something to be wary about as you have ohter animals, and you have only just recently purchased off gumtree no less (scamtree) ,If you have other pythons currently, This will be the worst outcome- Not following a good routine of quarantine, will lead to your other snakes acquiring it and eventually all dying ---- Normally I would say unlikely, but as its come from a seller on gumtree, who knows :/ you **SHOULD** get a testas it is a transmittable virus that can and has literally ruined collections overnight

It can be a sign of exposure to constantly too high humidity ---if you're spraying regularly, stop

It can also be a sign that she is about to shed, when did she shed last?? --- also likely option, looks like shes going dull in the 2nd pic
Thank you so much for this information! I didnt think to ask when she shed last when I got her on 31st October, and she is quite dull although her eyes are still clear so I think it's still a way off?

I don't know that my prescription has mineral oil in it, that's not on the list of ingredients, it's just a theory that it's causing her tummy scales to flake... she's my only reptile so I'm not too concerned about her transmitting anything. As for moisture, I've given her a bath 2-3 times a week and she has a big water dish in her enclosure, but I've only sprayed her a couple of times... so perhaps it is the sunblock :(

Really appreciate your opinion, thanks for sharing!
Eyes return to clear looking a week or 2 before they shed

you don’t need to bathe her 2-3 times a week or 2-3 times ever (unless she’s having a bad shed in which you just put her in a tub or container with damp paper towel)
I would definitely leave her alone untill she sheds, if there’s no mineral oil in ur sunblock then that is a concern in regards to the nido

but I would let her slough and if it continues, go from there

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