Snakes can make great pets. However, one common condition which can affect a pet snake is scale rot. Scale rot is caused by a bacterial infection, which causes the surface on the scales to begin to rot. If the condition is not treated, it can spread and could even prove fatal. Below is a guide to 3 possible causes of scale rot and the steps you can take to protect your pet.
Many people who are not used to handling snakes presume that they slimy creatures, but as anyone who owns a pet snake will know the scales on a snake are quite dry. The scales on your pet snake will not react well to high levels of moisture. If your snake enclosure contains too much moisture, this increases the chance that your pet will develop scale rot. Water provides the ideal conditions for bacteria to grow. You can help to reduce the amount of moisture in your snake's enclosure by cleaning up any water which is spilt. Lining the enclosure with wood chips or shavings will also help to absorb any excess moisture from the air.
Dirty living conditions
As well as controlling the amount of moisture in your snake's cage, it is important that you take steps to keep the living area clean. If you allow old food, urine or faeces to build up within the enclosure, this will create the ideal conditions for bacteria to grow. You should regularly clean up any old food, faeces or urine. You should also periodically place your snake is a smaller travel tank so you can completely remove the bedding from the floor of the enclosure. You should then wipe down the surface before placing fresh bedding in the tank.
While a poor diet cannot directly cause the development of scale rot, it can be a contributing factor. If your pet isn't receiving the vitamins and minerals it needs, it's immune system will weaken and it will not be able to fight off the bacterial infection which leads to scale rot. You should ensure that your pet snake receives a regular and balanced diet. If you are unsure of the best diet for your pet snake, you should speak to your vet.
If you would like further information about caring for your pet snake, you should contact your local vet who will be happy to offer pet care advice.