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Q: My snake is not shedding all the way. It has pieces of old shedding still on his body. Is there something wrong? What should I do?
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I have had my corn snake now for 2 weeks. When I got him in the mail he was just about to shed. He has not been trying to shed for 2 weeks. I live in Alaska and the weather is cold and dry, we have put a humidity guage and it reads 50-60. Is there a problem? If so what should I do?


Points: 150
Topics: Skin , Caging
Tags: Elaphe, Guttata, Humidity, Shedding
Species: Other Colubrids > Other Colubrids > Elaphe guttata guttata
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Assisted Answer 12/30/2009 8:56:42 PM

The humidity is not high enough for him to shed properly, but don't worry, you can help him.  Just put him in a Tupperware or critter keeper with fairly damp paper towels for about an hour.  At the end of the hour, let him run through your hands and help him remove the leftover pieces.  It is important to make sure especially that you get the old shed off of the very tip of his tail.  If old shed it left on his tail, over time it can constrict the tip, which can "die" and actually fall off. 

Once you get him shed properly this time, just make sure to increase the humidity when he goes into shed next time.  This time of year when the air dries out snakes sometimes have a harder time shedding than they will in the humid summer.

Good luck!
Assisted Answer 12/30/2009 9:50:37 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles
It's been my experience that the first shed a new acquisition has with me is more likely to be a rough one - and since yours arrived in shed, it's likely it just got too dry at some point during the last cycle - mixed in with some stress of shipping = poor shed. Living in Minnesota, I struggle with humidity in the winter months. For me, I strive to keep it ~ 55% humidity and mine typically shed fine. I think the key for you will be to help with this one, and then your corn will probably do just fine next time around.
Author Comment 12/30/2009 9:58:43 PM

Thank you sonja and bka mama. I will make sure the humidity is 55% or higher. :)
Member Comment 12/31/2009 12:23:49 AM

Philly Retics
Some snakes are just problem shedders, as I have had my fair share. I have never kept corn snakes but 50-60 sounds about right for the humidity. What you can do is when he's about to shed mist him about 2-3 times a day through out the shedding process. Also give him a large water bowl so that he can fully soak himself. And like sonja said make sure that the tip of the tail comes off as well as the eyecaps. Leaving retained eyecaps on a snake will cause vison problems, and I have seen a snake lose an eye because of it.
Accepted Answer 12/31/2009 1:03:16 AM

In the pic, it looks like you're using a heat lamp? Those can and will dry out the enclosure even more... And I'm guessing the Petco dials are how you measure temp and humidity? The plain old analog dials are inaccurate... They might be just a little off, or they might be WAY off. Personally, I wouldn't trust what it says... It may say 50-60% (which is a good level for corn snakes), but it might actually be much drier.

As for advice, start misting whenever it goes into shed. Do what Sonja suggested to get the shed off in the meantime, and you might want to make a humid hide... Spaghnum moss (which you can get at home improvement stores... Mosser Lee is a great brand), moistened (wet enough that it sticks together when you squeeze a handful, but with only a few drips of water), and put in a small tupperware or similar container with an access hole (cut to at least twice the size of your snake's widest point with a full belly) on the side or top.

Technically, you could keep the heat lamp and have no problems assuming you keep the water dish full and keep a humid hide available, but I suggest scrapping it and switching to a heat pad with a thermostat set to about 85*F. Definitely get a digital thermometer w/probe... You don't necessarily have to monitor humidity for corn snakes (I don't, with any of mine), but, if you worry about it, a digital hygrometer would be best.. You can get both of these from a regular department store (think cheap digital "weather station" or indoor/outdoor thermometer) for much cheaper than most (if not all) products available at a pet store.

Corn snakes are great! Just make sure things aren't TOO dry or too hot, and I'm sure s/he will thrive for you... (And you'll want more--just watch! Snakes are addicting!)
Member Comment 12/31/2009 7:09:04 AM

I second the notion of ditching the heat lamp and using an under tank heater (or flexwatt ran through a thermostat). If you place the water dish above the heat pad, it can help raise the humidity in the cage. The little guages from pet stores are usually off in my experience - I had a temperature dial that said the same temperature whether it was 80 degrees or 40 degrees in the room. Lol. Good luck helping the little guy out.
Author Comment 12/31/2009 5:14:48 PM

Thanks all. Tonight is feeding night, so lets see if Fantom will eat,  even thou he has been having a bad time at sheding.
Member Comment 1/19/2011 3:34:03 AM


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