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Assistance with Injured Wild Rough Snake

Discussion in 'Colubrids *General*' started by juliamk3, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. juliamk3

    juliamk3 Member

    Hello all.

    On Sunday I was in my garden with a spade and injured a rough earth snake. Now I'm trying to take care of her, but I'm sure I could use some pointers.

    I've been cleaning her wounds (one about a third of the way from her head, one near her tail), first with hydrogen peroxide, then diluted povidone iodine. I bandaged her twice, the first time with triple antibiotic cream, the second time with manuka honey. Both times have been a challenge--the bandages move. And since the second time, a small piece of medical tape got stuck to her skin.

    She eats earthworms, from my research. She's eaten one in the three days I've had her.

    She's started to shed. 24 (maybe 36?) hours ago, there was a little ring around her nose. It's only come off a tiny bit--still near her face. This evening I put her in a warm bath (distilled water). Then I put her inside a warm damp towel. Still no progress on shedding. And the tape is still stuck to her. :(

    I know that she can heal. I'm hoping for any advice about bandages (can I not bandage her? just clean the wounds twice a day?) And shedding. From what I've read, once they start to shed, it should happen quickly. Also any ideas about this goshforsaken medical tape being stuck near her tail.

    I know she is a wild animal. She's beautiful, but I want her to recover so she can go back to burrowing in the dirt. :)
  2. lisas

    lisas Elite Member

    I think that you could leave the bandages off if you use newspaper substrate and keep the enclosure meticulously clean. Maybe putting bandages on / taking them off would cause undue stress anyhow. I treated a large cut on the head of one of my former lizards and he healed up in 2 weeks. I used Neosporin ointment, no bandages. Good luck - sounds like you're a good person doing your best.
  3. juliamk3

    juliamk3 Member

    Thank you, lisas. I'm glad to hear your lizard healed well without bandages. I'm going to stop using them from now on--they definitely seem too stressful. I'll just keep changing the bedding and cleaning the aquarium daily.
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    And stop using the hydrogen peroxide. It actually kills living tissue.
  5. Darkbird

    Darkbird Moderator Staff Member

    Skip the bandages, they'll just cause trouble. Paper towel or newspaper for substrate, and 2 or 3 hides for security. Use the ointment sparingly, make sure it has no painkillers. As for the stuck tape, it may have to stay until after the snake sheds. This is why tape of any sort should never be used on any snake, or anywhere in the enclosure. As often as not the scales/skkn comes off with the tape, so as long as it doesn't impede movement, I would just leave it. Other than that, as was said keep the cage clean.
  6. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    For the tape you might try rubbing it with mineral oil to get the adhesive to loosen.
  7. juliamk3

    juliamk3 Member

    Thanks y'all. I used hydrogen peroxide the very first time based on advice from one site, but switched to dilute iodine.

    Once a day, after I take her out, I've been washing the aquarium with water and about a tablespoon of bleach, and then rinsing thoroughly.

    No more bandages!! I may try the mineral oil to get the tape off if she's not seeming too defensive. I've been putting a light layer of manuka honey where she's injured.

    She's hangin' in there, so I'm hopeful.

    I left her an earthworm this morning in case she is interested, and misted the aquarium with two or three sprays, to hopefully help with the shedding.
  8. juliamk3

    juliamk3 Member

    I'm thinking about releasing her back outside. She hasn't fully healed yet. Her skin looks mangled still. But she's now dehydrated (she has a ridge on her back). I've left her a water dish every day but I don't think she's drinking from it. She also hasn't really started shedding.

    There's a leaf pile near our house, a bunch of opened plastic bags of leaves that are now turning into leaf mold. Lots of earthworms there, I'm thinking that might be the place to do it. There's also the spot of loose dirt where I found her, but that's frequented by birds.

    If anyone has an opinion about release/don't release, please let me know. :)
  9. juliamk3

    juliamk3 Member

    Ok, the most awesome thing happened. I had left her in a bowl to soak, and she started drinking, right in front of me. Yay!!! I'm going to wait and see how things go.

    I've found a small soaking bowl that will fit in the aquarium and I've transferred her to it. I've been putting a tiny amount of grapefruit seed extract (natural antibiotic) in the water, and so I think it will be ok if she drinks from her soaking water, but I'm also going to put another shallow dish for drinking in there with her.
  10. lisas

    lisas Elite Member

    It sounds like she'll be O.K. - good job. Are her wounds closed up already? I'd wait until they (if not) are to release her. Did the mineral oil work to get the stuck tape off? I'm glad that she drank too.

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