This Disappears When Logged In

Bad Shed/Skin problems/ Scales Come Off?

Discussion in 'Milksnakes' started by MorganLeFay, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    Hi!
    I have a 5-year-old milk snake who has something going on with his skin, especially in the lower half of his body - the transparent, shiny layer that covers each scale comes off, and the scale underneath is dry, wrinkly and thin and it crinkles up badly when he curls up. His scales look like a badly ironed shirt. It's much worse before he sheds - this 'layer' sort of curls up at the base of his scales so you can almost peel it off. I keep finding bits of his scales stuck to the walls of his enclosure, some of them stick to my fingers when i handle him or float in his water bowl. The snake is otherwise in perfect health, I don't see any mites, he has a huge water bowl + warm soaks before shedding. I tried rubbing him over with oil & vit.E, nothing seems to help. It doesn't look very good. I know it's probably my fault and I'm killing myself over it, but I'd like to know what I should do and if it'll heal completely over time.

    Here's some background history:

    Before I got him he was kept in an inapropriate terrarium (too small, with 1 wall made out of a wire mesh, it was meant for a spider or sth) with no temperature or light regulation; he's still living in it, since I am currently looking for a new one, though I changed the interior to give him more room. He was fed only 2 mice per month, always live (now f/t + rat pinkies, every 2 weeks). He would always brumate in a temp. of 61F (a bit low?) and this year he didn't. The temp. is constant, about 74F (I KNOW it's still too low, but warmer than his previous home). He's on Aspen. I was in a bit of a financial dump when I got him, but now I'm working on improving his environment.
    Here are some pics, though they don't do it justice. Sorry for the crappy quality, it's just to give you an idea:
    2013-12-31 12.11.04.jpg 2013-12-31 12.14.16.jpg
    Thanks :)
     
  2. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Looks like you have a humidity issue. Cover the screen with a piece of wood. You also have to get those temperatures up. At 74 degrees the snake is barely functional. You need to get it at least 10-15 degrees warmer.
     
  3. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    OK, will do. Thanks for the advice:)
     
  4. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, can you put a few photos up of the whole enclosure and give some details of heating/lighting and what type of thermometer/hygrometer you use (analogue or digital)? Thanks!
     
  5. Majora

    Majora Elite Member

    What kind of oil did you rub on him? I know someone who put mineral oil on their snake when it was having a rough shed and it caused the top layer of the scales to flake off one by one. Other than that I've never had to put anything on my snakes so I don't know if/what oils are safe to use, but it's a thought.
     
  6. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    Well at first I thought he might have mites, so I soaked him in olive oil, but that was just once, so I don't think it could do that much damage. A few times I used soybean oil and cod liver (from vit.E capsules, as I was on low budget, lol;). No change whatsoever so I might as well stop, particularly as I've heard different opinions on rubbing oil over snakes. I did notice, though, that he looked much better right after shedding, so I'll wait another few cycles and see if it improves. It doesn't seem to be causing him any discomfort, so I can give him some time, and if it doesn't clear up I'll take him to a vet, although the last one I visited was remarkably unhelpful. Thanks for the insightful advice;)

    Oh, and btw, how did your friends' snake do after that? Did the scales heal & regain their sheen?
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013
  7. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    Guess what - he just shed like 5 minutes ago and for the first time since I got him he's had a perfect shed! :D Yay! But these ****** scales are still the same, just temporarily more shiny ;) They're such an eyesore, grrrr...
    2014-01-02 01.01.27.jpg
    Btw, I've been wondering what kind of light is best for sin. milks? Some people say they don't need UVB, since they don't bask, others say they should have it - what would you recommend? (He's never had any lighting in his enclosure, but I want to get him sth, especially now during the winter months)
    Thanks :)
     
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    They really do not need any supplemental lighting.
    But you say the scales are still coming off the snake even after the shed? This is an odd one.
     
  9. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    No, they're not coming off, but they do have a thinned-out, ragged appearance. They only start flaking off right before he sheds. Afterwards they look almost OK:) My vet said it might be due to the conditions he had most of his life + the changes I introduced (more frequent feeding, higher temps, first time without brmation, etc.). I suppose I didn't help him either at first, because I removed most of the flaky layer the first time it happened. It wasn't a good idea :/
    My biggest concern now: does the top layer of the scales regenerate in time, or once it's gone is it lost for good?
     
  10. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The scales will constantly regenerate. Since there were humidity/shedding issues, it may have affected the underlying scales. They may return to normal after a few shed cycles.
     
  11. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    OK, so I just got a heat mat that I ordered from a guy who breeds spiders and my snake is going crazy about it. It's a 12x12inch 14W mat with a max. temperature of 93F. When the bottom of the tank got warm, he put his head down and started sniffing at it like crazy, and now he's almost completely buried under his bedding, his belly touching the bottom. Love at first sight;) Anyway, his previous owners paid no attention whatsoever to heating and I'm hoping that his sheds improve when the temp. and humidity goes up.
    Btw, the tank he's in has a glass bottom and I was wondering what's the optimal distance between it and the heat mat (I don't want the glass to shatter). I have it now at about 7mm + aluminium foil under the mat, is that OK?
     
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The heating pads are supposed to be attached to the glass bottom. And then the bottom of the tank is lifted by way of shimming it up to allow air to get under it.
     
  13. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    OK, thanks. I am a bit of a technical idiot ;)
     
  14. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    Right, temperature's up from 74 to around 85 on the surface of the bedding, cool side (with the water bowl:) about 75, night time drop to about 74 or so (I switch the heat pad off at night (no thermostat as yet). Though come to think of it does he actually need a night drop? I'm not sure all this switching on and off is good for the heat mat in the long run (technical idiot alert;)). Also, the bottom of the tank is waaay hotter than the top thanks to the heat pad and all the Aspen on top of it, the glass bottom under it is like 110 degrees or someting, though the snake doesn't touch it directly. Could he burn himself on the glass??? It feels very hot when I touch it, but not scalding.
     

Share This Page