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Injured/Dying Ringneck Snake

Discussion in 'Snakes - General' started by ajvw, Jun 19, 2006.

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  1. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    My son found a small ringneck snake on our driveway this morning (we live in Northern Virginia). It is about a foot long and as big around as a pencil. It looks like something injured it (probably our cat). It has bloody wounds about 1/4 of the way up from its tail, and an area of swelling along the next few inches of its body. It is lying pretty much limp, and is holding its mouth open. It is still alive, but I don't hold out much hope for it. It seems able to move above its injury, but I suspect it is paralyzed below the injury and its spinal cord may be broken. I have put it in a container in the house and am trying to keep it warm. I have offered it water, but it's not drinking.

    My question is, is there anything I can do to try to help it? If it can survive, I'm willing to help (but I'm not sure what I can do -- maybe I should just put it back outside?), and if it's going to die, I'm willing to help it with that, too, humanely (but I don't know the most humane thing to do). It does appear to be suffering, with its mouth open like that, but I don't know much about snakes.

    I can try to post some pics if that would be helpful. Any advice from snake folks would be appreciated.

  2. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Pics would be very helpful. Since hes a wild snale be sure to wash your hands before and after handeling him as to avoid the spread of disease and parasites.
  3. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    Here are a couple of pics:



    I think its mouth may be open because it's in pain and is instinctually trying to bite? (Can't see its mouth in the pics, but it opens it most of the time, sometimes quite wide, and seems to be trying to bite the paper toweling).

    I don't think there's much hope for the little thing...
  4. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    I dont think so either. You should just let him pass outside or you can help him along...he looks like hes in pretty bad shape
  5. Queen 'O Green

    Queen 'O Green Elite Member

    Oh... poor thing. I hate it when something like this happens. Somehow injured animals always end up on my doorstep and it is just so sad!

    If you do feel like you need to put it down, one of the easiest and most human ways I have found is to wrap it in a paper towel or put it in an open box, then place it in a plastic bag and seal the end over the exhaust pipe of your car and let it run for a few minutes. It puts the critter into a painless sleep which stops their heart. Sounds aweful I know, but my cats are always bringing in things with broken backs are holes in their necks. Ick.

    Also, I have noticed that if the ribs are crushed or there is a puncture in the lung animals my cats bring us will open their mouths wide. I'm not sure if the same applies to snakes... I hope that is not the case. Good luck with the poor fellow!
  6. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    Thanks for the advice. I will see if I can break the news to my kids. They are really rooting for the poor little snake.
  7. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    In death(from what Ive experienced) reptiles will usually repeat the sma epattern of body movemenets over and over, the main one being opening and closing of the mouth. Im sorry that it has to end this way for him but it seems like the most logical and humane way to go.
  8. DarkMagician207

    DarkMagician207 Elite Member

    aww poor little guy. but it might be best for him, that doesn't look too promising.:(
  9. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    Turned out the little guy died within a few minutes of my last post. Which is good, because the kids were adamant that I not help it die...
  10. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Im glad you didnt have to do the deed, and Im glad your kids love herps so much :). Hopefully next time they find a snake it will be healthy.
  11. ajvw

    ajvw Subscribed User

    My kiddos love just everything! They have actually enjoyed small snakes found in our yard several times. It's all I can do to keep them from kissing them. My daughter sneaks toads into the house in her plastic purse (so far, I've freed them all in time), and she came in once with a red-backed salamander in her pocket. The sallie survived. We got our Leopard Geckos as a solace for their sorrow at not being able to keep wild things as pets. Now my battle is helping the kids enjoy handling the geckos in a way that is no threat to the geckos. Luckily, one of the gecko girls really seems to enjoy human contact, so we take her out a couple times a week. She seems to love it.

    Snake funeral in the morning -- thunderstorms have postponed the services.
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