Dehydration

Symptoms

  • wrinkled skin
  • dented/cracked eye caps
  • skin stays in place if gently pinched (rather than snapping back)
  • trouble shedding

Cause

  • snake is not drinking enough water
  • humidity too low
  • softened or distilled water
dehydrated ball python trying to shed

Note the wrinkled skin and stuck shed on this juvenile ball python — telltale signs of dehydration.

Treatment

One of the most effective ways to rehydrate a dehydrated ball python is to give it a warm electrolyte bath. Because ball pythons are easily stressed by traditional bathing, you will have to make a few accommodations.

You will need a small heat pad, thermostat, a bottles of sports drink or electrolyte supplement (like Pedialyte), paper towels, and a plastic tub with a lid. Place the mat under the tub and set to 82-84°F (27-28°C) , then fill it 1″ (2 cm) deep with electrolyte solution (75% sports drink, 25% water). Let the water warm up for about 15 minutes, then place the snake inside and close the lid. Leave the snake to soak for 30 minutes to an hour.

Rinse the electrolyte residue off your ball python with a warm damp cloth before returning to its enclosure. Repeat as necessary until no longer displaying symptoms.