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7 Year Old Snake with Strange Scale Damage, Please Help!

Discussion in 'Milksnakes' started by Sablespace528, Jul 1, 2014.

  1. Sablespace528

    Sablespace528 New Member


    I have a 7-8 year old Sinaloan milk snake. She has had a perfect health record in completely sanitary conditions her whole life. Large habitat, 2 hides, one large water dish she likes to lay in for a bit, a small one she drinks from (don't ask me why she doesn't interchange the two), a climbing branch, a few decorations and about 3 inches of damp shredded coco-bedding. Humidity at 50%, heat when necessary provided by heat lamp (not the best, I know, but I haven't had the money from my paychecks to replace her under the tank heat mat). She has two rat pups every week. She is about 2 or so feet long.

    Problem: For the past two weeks, scales on her back have begun shrivel almost. They just sort of shrivel up and disappear. At first it was only a few, but now it's spreading down her back slowly. Others still are turning milky, and others are sticking up. I don't think it's damage from her innumerable escape attempts, she's always spent a good chunk of her day trying to escape. There is nothing in her cage new or different, save for a new climbing branch that I dried and baked. No sharp edges there. There is no other damage to be seen. I really am at a loss for what this is. I will be doing a full tank emptying, changing all the bedding, and sanding down edges even further. I am terrified it could be a disease or fungus.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope someone has ideas.
  2. MorganLeFay

    MorganLeFay Elite Member

    Pictures would be helpful. Are you saying that the actual scales disappear? Are there bald patches of skin on her back, is the skin irritated, discoloured? Has this happened before? Sometimes, the scales might look weird before a shed, especially if the humidity is a bit on the low side. With 50%, I highly doubt that it's a fungus, although like I said, pictures would help a lot. I had a similar issue (at least that's what I'm guessing:), and it was just a bad leftover shed. Btw, 2 feet is a bit small for a 7 year old snake. I have a sinaloan as well, 5 years old and well over 3 feet.
  3. TamJam

    TamJam Elite Member

    Could the heat lamp be burning her? You said you used to have an under the tank heat mat and are now using a heat lamp. What is the temp in the enclosure with the heat lamp?
  4. Sablespace528

    Sablespace528 New Member

    Hi guys! Thank you for answering. I will try to get a picture in the next few minutes. As for the heat lamp, it's VERY far away from her, and the temperature is barely raised 2 degrees in the tank with it on for 4 hours. It's a really, really, really big tank. The temp in the tank ranges with my house temperature plus two degrees, so the tank is normally 75-76. If I don't run the AC I don't turn the lamp on though, and I really haven't used the lamp for the past 3 months. So it can't be that. My house without AC is about 77, so I figured that would be good:)

    As for the shed, I REALLY don't think it's that. I say this because she's had one other incomplete shed, and it didn't look like this. Her last shed was a complete skin. Some of the scales on her back are shriveled, some are raised like they've been rubbed the wrong way with a piece of sandpaper or something, and others are milky looking, like a sickly pale color. I'll try to get a picture as best I can, my camera isn't the best but I'll try.

    Yes I know she isn't very long, I never knew why:/ I always kept her in big enclosures, fed her 2 mice a week for 6 years then 2 rat pups a week starting this year. She's been this size for a year now, I never knew why. I have a vet appointment Saturday, but I'm very worried. It's spreading further still. I will try for pictures, hold on:)
  5. Sablespace528

    Sablespace528 New Member

    And yes, some scales are disappearing. But the skin does not look irritated. In fact, the lost scales are spread out among the other damaged and funny colored ones, so you can't see skin at all. And I checked her with a magnifying glass and low power microscope, and did not see any bugs like mites. I checked for about an hour all over, but it's always a possibility.
  6. Sablespace528

    Sablespace528 New Member


    - - - Updated - - -


    This one is blury in some parts, but it shows the 'shriveling' of the scales. The first shows the strange combination of faded coloring and damage. I'm not sure if you can see it, but other scales are sticking up at the ends like they've been bent up by something.

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