Regurgitation

Regurgitation” is when an animal expels food that has not yet reached the stomach. “Vomiting” is when an animal expels food that has already spent some time in the stomach and may be partially digested. This page addresses both.

Symptoms

  • snake expels undigested or partially digested prey orally

Cause

  • handling snake within 48 hours of eating
  • cold temps
  • stress
  • over-eating
  • illness
  • dirty enclosure
  • dehydration
  • cohabitation
  • intestinal parasites
  • contaminated prey

Treatment

When humans vomit, it’s an unpleasant experience, but not terribly dangerous to our health. For reptiles, however, it’s a different story. Regurgitation and vomiting are highly traumatic, and can be potentially life-threatening.

Let your snake rest. No handling, no touching, no pestering — just let it rest. But DO check on it to make sure the symptoms don’t get worse. If your corn snake seems to be declining, make an appointment with a reptile veterinarian immediately because there may be something more serious going on.

If your snake seems to be doing okay after 2 weeks, try offering another meal. Offer something small — about 1/2 to 1/4 of what you would usually give. Then continue to let the snake rest until the next feeding.

If the snake handles this small meal without problem, it should be able to handle a normal meal next time. But keep a close eye on them, and if it happens again, call your vet.