This Disappears When Logged In

Something's Wrong with My Boa :( Anyone Have an Idea??

Discussion in 'Common/Red Tail Boa' started by 20thcenturfox, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. 20thcenturfox

    20thcenturfox Member

    Hello everyone…

    I don’t know but it seems there’s something wrong with my boa-constrictor. A while ago I noticed a slight change at first I didn’t understand, but then it struck me, he looked like he was shrinking. He became very pale, and hadn’t shed in a while. His eyes were clear though. But I noticed some parts of his body appear to have some extra skin and when I touch him I feel his skin overall (except at the bottom where his belly is, scales of which feel and look normal) feels really… kinda hard, rough, flaky, sort of like… sandpaper. When I let him crawl through my fingers it no longer feels elastic and smooth like it would’ve normally been… and he’s sitting on his log or branches and I see some parts of his skin are literally crumpled and wrinkled (especially in the places where he’s folding his body)
    SO anyways, he’s been living in a nice terrarium, he has the proper temperature a good amount of water where he can always soak in… and he does occasionally. He ate a week ago. He’s very active if you touch him or pick him up he’ll be exploring all over and even if you put him back he ll be hanging around for a long while before climbing up to the branch and sitting there. He seems really active. NOW that I said his eyes were clear, today I discovered they were foggy and gray. Plus he’s been really pale. He looks like he’s about to shed but not really. Something IS wrong!
    I cant find a vet that would specialize in reptiles in my area that I can take my boa to. The few clinics that we got around here do only mammals. I am on it, but before I find one maybe you guys could enlighten me on what’s going on.
    I’ve attached a HD photos I took (many of them for a better perspective and I tried to get them as detailed as I could) I appreciate an opinion.

    SORRY IF THIS IT TOO MANY PICS, i made the small preview u can CLICK on each one to see it in a bigger size.
    i hope it didn't bother anyone... -- HERE's the link ]to the gallery of the pics(altogether) of him that i took because this forum WONT let me attach the images :( nor will it let me put a proper link :(

    or the links to the single pictures:

    Thank you and I hope i didnt violate the rules of posting links :( theres no other way I could show the pics :( and thank you in advance
  2. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Sorry we can't see the photos!

    Why don't you give us a complete run down of him and how he is kept!
  3. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, how long have you had the snake?
  4. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    You can attach pictures now.
    That really doesn't tell us anything. We need actual numbers on temperature and humidity as well as the size and decor of the tank.
    How long have you had the snake and have you been thru shedding with it before?
    To me it sounds like it is are in the middle of a shedding cycle and the humidity is too low.
  5. 20thcenturfox

    20thcenturfox Member

    ok hes got a nice habitat UV light during the day, some area of the habitat is heated more so he can warm up... hes got a large amount of water he can soak in.. temperature's around 90... Ive had him for a year...

    u should be able to see the pics i just uploaded them into a post in LiveJournal because i cant attach anything on here

    www. i'd appreciate if you have a look

    U will also see his inhabitat..
    which is EXO-TERRA GLASS TERRARIUM 18x18x24 REPTILE CAGE PT2607 you could google it, i think this is a popular one
    i spray the heated wooden substrate so that it keeps it humid but i dont know how to measure humidity...

    he has shed a few time before perfectly
  6. 20thcenturfox

    20thcenturfox Member










    Attached Files:

  7. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    Can you please be exact about the temps and humidity?
  8. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    I would say your humidity has to be badly off and is 90 your ambient temp all around or just a certain basking area? 90 for an ambient temp is too much. Are you using a digital thermometer with a probe? You should also get a digital hydrometer because all snakes require higher then normal humidity when in shed. Even if it only drops some during that time it can mess them up. What are you using to heat the enclosure? I also use that size and I know heat bulbs over 50watts can over heat it quickly. Snakes and all reptiles require a heat gradient to be able to regulate.

    I'm saying it's unshed skin and bad. I've seen other snakes like that before at some pet stores but I've never had to treat one. I know they sale shedding aids and I would see what you can do about your humidity. Is the top screen covered? Also you said you heat up the wood and spray it for humidity, do you mind explaining a bit more please.

    Sorry if it's too much at once, I'm trying to get as much info as I can so we may be able to give you better advice.
  9. 20thcenturfox

    20thcenturfox Member


    No no, 90 isn't the ambient temperature, just the basking area.

    well, when I said I spray the wooden substrate, I mean that I have bark chopped into little pieces, therefore if u put some water over it, it is quickly absorbed it and then while drying it will evaporate creating humidity. I wouldn't say the humidity is badly off because he has shed before successfully... but i ll try to get a device to measure humidity.

    As for bulbs, i dont use bulbs over 50w... instead, ive got two x20W above once of which produces UV. I would say the temperature range withing the habitat is between 27and 32 (80-90F) for example the spot, the basking area, which is reaching 90F is the front left quarter of the habitat because i have a heating underneath the habitat glass to heat that area locally (thats where I spray water in increase humidity), but the opposite sides of the terrarium remain around 80-85... also the bulbs provide some heat too but given that they re far up and outside of terrarium and that each of them is just 20W i dont think they heat it up significantly. I ALSO have lots of branches and he can climb up and down to find most comfortable temperature.

    He has a large bowl of water and he's been lying in it for more than 15 hours already. do you think he's gonna shed?

    I think now that you're able to see the pics, i manages to attach some, can you rule out parasites or specks??
  10. 20thcenturfox

    20thcenturfox Member

    this is his HABITAT if someone wants to see HABITAT.jpg
  11. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    If your humidity wasn't a problem he probably would not be soaking so much. Your boa needs a couple of hides. Are those lights in the top of the enclosure? Does he have access to the top where he could get burned?
  12. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    The snake is trying to shed. But your humidity is off. Just misting the substrate is not sufficient since the screen top of that enclosure allows any moisture to escape into the room itself. You are essentially trying to humidify the entire room with your mister bottle!
    Take a large dripping wet towel, put it and the snake in a wet pillowcase and knot the case, leave it overnight in the enclosure.

    And you do realize that cage is not going to work for very long? You are going to need something approximatel 2ft x 4ft x 18inches tall.
  13. 20thcenturfox

    20thcenturfox Member

    now he's been in the water for like 19 hours..never going out
  14. Wyldrose

    Wyldrose Elite Member

    I don't know if anyone else noticed he looks very thin to me. What and how often is he eating? I took in a rescue ball python who had loose skin like your guy. It's been 3 months and he isn't that skinny anymore.

    Those exoterra tanks are not really ideal for snakes, I would look for a 50 gallon tank asap. He needs some hides, 1 on the warm side and one on the cool side. Also a bin filled with damp moss will help his shed!
    What are you using to measure the temps?
    A snake soaking in the water dish for hours usually means one of two things #1 the snake is too hot, a digital thermometer or an infared thermometer gun will give you accurite measurments. #2 mites, when he is out of the water is there tiny black specks in the water? Snakes will soak in the water to drown the mites.
  15. 20thcenturfox

    20thcenturfox Member

    yeah, the mites I was really concerned about - i think some black dots are present but i cant be certain as it might have been bark pieces or dust or anything.... should i look through a zoom glass? if it were mites would they cause trouble shedding? would they cause the loss of weight and wrinkled skin?

    ok ive just started to think, i had to go abroad for a month, i came back july 6th... i'd been away for a month, while i was away a friend of mine would pass by my place to feed my snake, he would put mice in there and some piece of fruit or vegetable so the mice wouldn't die if snake didn't eat them right away. so when i came back it was pretty smelly, and to be honest, not in the best hygiene condition in his habitat as he never took the poo out i even found a little fly flying around.. would that have been the reason for mites and for developed condition? my friend said he'd take care of the snake but he probably wasn't brave enough to actually pick him up and clean up the habitat.

    as for the size, i am definitely planning on getting a bigger one as he grows. but really, he's a very young boa now ,this should do well for now

    the lights are off when it's night, and these are two 20W bulbs cant be too bright, can they? if u see over his bowl he has a statue of a frog IN which he goes hiding sometimes, so he HAS a place to hide. sometimes he hides behind the statue, in between it and the background. or hides in the water under the statue...he would just lay there, his head sticking out from under the statue :)

    he ate 2 weeks ago, i got him 3 mice two of which he ate in 4 days...and the last one just died uneaten. i dont know why probably cuz i forgot to put some food for the mice ( i dont want to think the mice were sick), i dont really like putting anything of this sort into the terrarium, but sometimes i may leave a peace of apple 'supervised' for a while for the pray in case he doesn't want to eat right away. i will put it in there for a while (washed and everything) and then take it out before its rotten obviously. my friend mistakenly left it there.. so it's just an one time thing.

    i measure the temp. with the thermometer that I can touch the surface of different sides of the habitat and it will show me local temp.

    i cant go and get anything for humidity as I myself was diagnosed with pneumonia yesterday :((((((( i feel pretty awful!

    mshrmheadcharge, there's absolutely no way he can get burned as there's the screen separating the bulbs from the terrarium. the bulbs are way up from the screen itself so it wont ever be possible.

    now in LJ I was given a recommendation:

    I just did what the guy suggested, disinfected the bowl and everything, took out the decor and stuff.. he didnt like being rubbed all over with warm and wet towel, although he didnt poop. Is that the treatment for mites?
  16. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Yes look at them through a magnifying glass. They will be small bugs with eight legs.
    Mites in sufficient quantities could cause weigh loss since they are blood suckers.
    And in sufficient quantities to cause weight loss, they should be very easy to find.
    Okay, this is serious. NEVER, ever, leave a live rodent in with a snake unattended. Snakes have been severly injured or killed by rodents. It won't hurt a snake to go without food for a month. You are really very lucky that you did not come home to a dead boa.
    No. Mites have to be brought into the situation, either on another reptile or by hitching a ride on clothing or something that passed through an area where they were at. Filthy habitat would not cause them.
    Properly kept you will be surprised on the rate at which they grow.

    You are seriously playing a deadly game with your snake's life by leaving the mice in there.
    What is "LJ"?
    What you are bing told is merely a way to check for mites. It is not a treatment. Unfortunately that requires chemicals.
    My suggestion is for tonight do what I told you with the wet towel and pillowcase. The extra moisture should loosen the skin and the snake moving around in the towel and pillowcase should start the shedding to happen.
  17. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    Though Merlin is far more experience then I am I just can't help but emphasise everything he said again. NEVER EVER leave a live rodent with your snake alone nor should your snake be eating that often. You need to establish a feeding schedule and look into killing the rodents or frozen/thawed.

    If your little guy was left alone that long I can assure you that your humidity was non existent while you were gone or he wouldn't look like that. If you cover the the screen on top of the cage I can assure you that it will make a huge difference. I've used plexi glass cut to size on this very same cage and I'm able to keep very high humidity. For now you can even use aluminum foil and that also works.

    I was wondering what kind of thermometer you're using? Is it an anolog or a digital? I highly recommned you buy a digital with a probe and realistically you should have 2 in there. A hydrometer is also key to maintaining a healthy animal.

    As for hides, they need more then what you've provided. Your cage looks a bit empty with everything in one corner. Young snakes like to be able to hide and have cover to feel comfortable moving around. Out in the open they can become stressed. He requires the option to be able to enter a "cave" or hide where he can feel secure and safe. If not then certainly more foliage so he can feel as though he's got enough cover.

    Feel free to ask tons of questions and be open to our suggestions. Everyone here is honestly hoping to help you out with your issues. Learning a bit more about the snake you have through the care sheets on this site is a great place to start. he can still make a turn around with some work he'll be healthy again. Let us know wether you find mites or not.
  18. 20thcenturfox

    20thcenturfox Member

    hey guys, sorry with my pneumonia wasn't able to report back sooner. but just now my Boa has shed. the trick with the wet towel worked! thnx, Merlin!

    I first put him in a wet towel which was put inside a wet pillow case. after a day he didnt shed, then i let him go thinking it wouldn't be safe for him to be stuck there for longer, however i left the wet towel and the pillow case in there so he could go in..and he DID...and then he went out..and then he went back in there...for 2 days...and now i walk up to the terrarium and see he's shiny new and so bright..and he successfully shed... NO EXTRA SKIN, NO WRINKLES, he's just brand new and he doesnt seem shrunk anymore... and very active! thnx.. he's totally fine :)
  19. mld

    mld Subscribed User Premium Member

    Sounds like he enjoyed his trip to the spa!
  20. JoeyG

    JoeyG Subscribed User Premium Member

    Great news! Feel free to upate some pics :)

Share This Page