Keeping a snake can be a challenge even for experienced hobbyists, and it’s always important to be watchful of your snake’s condition, how much it eats, and how much it drinks.
Dehydration can be seriously dangerous for any snake, and in extreme cases, it could even result in the death of the snake if it is not addressed quickly. It’s an important issue to look out for, particularly if you keep a ball python.
Ball pythons need to drink water, but they also need to be misted and kept in a humid environment, or they will quickly dry out, and this can cause their shed skins to get stuck, or create wrinkling and loss of appetite.
It may also lead to constipation, a dry mouth/tongue area, and creased eye skin. You should be keeping an eye on these things to reduce the risk of dehydration occurring.
Ball pythons live in many different environments in the wild, so they are quite adaptable creatures, but the air in most homes is surprisingly dry and this can cause your snake to dehydrate if you do not humidify it at times.
Keeping your snake’s enclosure damp will go a long way to keeping the snake hydrated.
How To Identify A Dehydrated Ball Python!
It is a good idea to regularly inspect your snake for any health issues; you may want to do this every day or two, as you will be able to quickly identify problems and take action to resolve them.
You should be able to tell if your ball python is dehydrated by looking out for several different symptoms, such as dead skin from a molt getting stuck, creasing in the snake’s eyes, wrinkled skin on the snake’s body, constipation, disinterest in food/loss of appetite, and a dry mouth.
Physically examining and handling the snake will let you inspect it for many of these issues, although you will need to pay attention to the enclosure to look for signs of constipation.
If your python’s skin is wrinkling or if bits of shed skin are getting stuck to the skin beneath, the snake is likely to be dehydrated. This is often easiest to see in young ball pythons and more commonly affects juveniles, but it does sometimes occur in adults too.
Creasing in the eyes is also an obvious indicator of dehydration; a ball python has clear membranes covering the cornea, and these are usually invisible.
However, when the snake is dehydrated, the membranes will start to crease and crack, causing wrinkles to appear across the whole surface of the snake’s eyes within a few days.
This can affect the snake’s vision and is usually quite a visual indication that your snake is dehydrated.
How To Help A Dehydrated Ball Python!
If your snake is extremely dehydrated for some reason, it will be crucial to get it to a vet as soon as possible, as it may need urgent care.
However, it should be reasonably safe and easy to treat mild dehydration yourself at home, especially if your snake does not seem to be suffering from it. You should always make sure that your python has plenty to drink in its enclosure, and refresh this water regularly.
The best way to treat a dehydrated ball python is to give it a good soak, as snakes can absorb water through their skin and will also usually drink when they are submerged in water.
You should use a watertight tub with a locking lid, and pierce some holes in the lid; this will serve as the bath. The water should be warm, but not warmer than 85 degrees F, and it should just cover your snake’s body at its thickest point.
Leave the snake to soak for fifteen to twenty minutes, as this should give it ample time to absorb water through its skin. You can also reduce the risks of dehydration by providing plenty of fresh water and keeping the humidity high in the snake’s enclosure.
Regularly mist your snake using a plant sprayer, particularly if you think that its tank is dry, which is likely during very hot or very cold weather.
What Causes Dehydration In A Ball Python?
There are two major potential causes of dehydration among ball pythons: your snake is not drinking enough, or your snake’s enclosure is too dry.
Either of these can contribute to dehydration, but it may be a combination of both, and this will require you to address the issue quickly.
You should always make sure that your snake is well hydrated before you feed it, as this will help to reduce the risks associated with dehydration.
It’s a good idea to keep your snake’s enclosure humidified, and you may wish to install a hygrometer so that you can properly measure the humidity levels and correct them if they get too high or too low.
The humidity in the enclosure should be at least 50 percent, and may be as high as 65 percent. Check on this regularly and mist the enclosure and the snake if they get too dry, particularly if your snake doesn’t like its water bowl.
Ball pythons prefer their water bowls to be positioned somewhere hidden, so try tucking it into a cave or an enclosed crevice to encourage your snake to drink from it.
The bowl will need to be cleaned and checked on daily; it is common for these snakes to knock it over or get it dirty, and the water will evaporate quickly if the dish is shallow or the tank is warm.
A dehydrated ball python is at risk of becoming seriously sick, so you must take steps to reduce the chances of your python getting dehydrated by keeping its enclosure humid and checking on its water every single day. If your ball python does show any signs of dehydration, make sure you give it a fifteen minute soak in some warm water to help its skin absorb moisture and rehydrate. You should also check that the water dish is somewhere suitable and that it is kept clean and regularly replenished.