What Mistakes Can Cause Your Snake to Develop Scale Rot?

One of the most common conditions faced by pet snakes is scale rot, which is more properly referred to as necrotic or ulcerative dermatitis. A bacterial infection, scale rot starts slowly and eventually becomes more pronounced. As the condition develops, it becomes a lot more serious, and snakes that are not treated in time can even die from the condition.

As ever, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so make sure you avoid making the following mistakes that can lead to scale rot.

Providing Too Much Moisture

One common misconception about snakes is that they are slimy, but anyone who has ever handled one will know that their scales are actually quite dry. Fittingly, a snake's scales do not respond well to high levels of moisture. If the enclosure in which you keep your snake contains too much moisture, scale rot is likely to develop. This is particularly likely in snakes that typically live in quite dry environments, but even snakes that enjoy swimming in water can develop scale rot due to excess moisture when they don't have a chance to dry off. Make sure the substrate of the enclosure isn't too moist, and ensure that spilled water is dabbed up. A speciality type of bedding, such as wood shavings, will hold moisture more effectively than newspaper or paper towel.

Providing Unclean Living Conditions

As well as making sure your snake's cage doesn't contain too much moisture, you're going to want to clean it on a regular basis. Since scale rot is caused by a bacterial infection, you'll want to avoid housing your snake in a cage that is unclean. Any faeces or urine is going to create an ideal environment in which bacteria can thrive, as will any food debris that gets left over when your snake feeds. Remember, your snake will probably spend a lot of time in their enclosure, so cleanliness is really something that you need to keep an eye on.

Providing an Improper Diet

As a bacterial infection, there is no way that scale rot can actually be caused by a poor diet. However, your snake will be less able to protect itself from such issues if it isn't being given the right food. In particular, you'll need to make sure your snake is consuming plenty of vitamin C and vitamin A. If you are not sure whether the diet you are supplying is good enough, make sure you check with your local vet and make any changes that they suggest.