I have a small reticulated python. After the last time it shed its skin, it seemed like some is left on the eyes. Should I try to take it off myself, or is it best left alone?
W.M., Fort Myers, FL May 07, 2012
Any local pet store that sells snakes or the municipal zoo should be able to refer you to a veterinarian who has experience treating snakes. Even though most do not, all "exotic" animals should have professional advice when health issues arise. You could also contact any local veterinary hospital and ask for a referral. Most likely, your snake has not gone through a normal skin-shedding cycle, which can be disrupted by the snake's environment being too dry or the animal not having suitable rough surfaces (like rocks and tree branches) to rub against. The modified skin over the eyes (called "spectacles") has been retained. Trying to pull them off could damage the corneas and result in ulceration, scarring and loss of vision. Purchase over-the-counter human ocular lubricant and apply three to four times daily. Make sure the snake's enclosure is humid and suitable objects for the snake to rub against are included. If the spectacles have not been shed in 10 to 14 days, a veterinary specialist should examine your snake for possible eye infection causing the spectacles to continue to adhere to the surface of each eye.
Because of Dr. Fox’s schedule, he cannot accept nor respond to e-mails concerning
pet health and behavioral problems. You may find answers in his
Archives section and in his
Special Reports. If you have a
pet emergency, please contact your nearest veterinary hospital or clinic.