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Q: Adult male Corn snake with swollen hemipenes/tail
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In Relation To:

Plume [2012 Tooth'N'Scale]

I have an adult male corn snake, about 6-7 years-old. He did a perfect shed last night, and also pooped. This morning though, I saw that the tail area around the hemipenes is swollen. It doesn't feel hard to the touch, but I'm slightly worried. What should I do?

Attached Photos:

Points: 100
Topics: General Health
Tags: Cornsnake, Hemipenes, Swollen, Tail
Species: Other Colubrids > Other Colubrids > Elaphe guttata guttata
Administrative: Show/Hide

Accepted Answer 8/3/2018 12:05:24 AM

Sonja K. Reptiles
My first thought would be to soak him. It won’t hurt, and it might help for reducing swelling and cleansing in the event a bacterial infection is present. Nothing coming from or at the vent, though?
Author Comment 8/4/2018 8:19:31 AM


I checked yesterday, and vent seems normal. I'm not comfortable enough to pop him though, I'm scared to hurt him. He ate a rat yesterday, and was active. Could the swelling be retained sperm plugs?

Member Comment 8/4/2018 12:27:48 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

I was kind of wondering if he had inverted his hemipenes while shedding and possibly they just hadn't gone back into place yet?

Author Comment 8/5/2018 4:16:22 PM


I didn't see him shed, so I can't know, but he did a good shed. I think I'll wait until he finish digesting, then I'll soak him a bit, and if it doesn't help, I'll go see a vet.

Author Comment 8/14/2018 9:00:16 PM


Ok, so after a visit to the vet, the problem is retained/impacted sperm plugs. He gave Plume a flush, and a bit came out, but it's still swollen. So vet gave me sterile water and a syringe, and I have to flush Plume once a day for 4-5 days. That's gonna be fun -__-

Member Comment 8/14/2018 9:43:05 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

Interesting! Thanks for the update! How is it that you are flushing? Are you inserting the syringe into the cloaca or is there a tube attached to the syringe? 

Guess you can be thankful he's not a big ol' Retic!  >.<  and it's not impacted anal glands. Eeeew!

Author Comment 8/15/2018 12:31:14 PM


I flushed him this morning, but nothing came out (yet). There's this silicon tube attached to the syringe, it's softer and the vet also gave me some lube. Still, Plume doesn't like it and now he's sulking in a corner of his terrarium. :(

Author Comment 8/30/2018 10:45:44 AM


so last week, I was able to remove 1 stuck sperm plug, so that's good. He still has another one to lose, and still has that bump under the tail though.

Author Comment 11/5/2018 7:32:29 PM


Ok, so the bump on his tail slowly grew in size, so we went to a vet. He also has a bruised scale near the tail.  Since we found bacteria inside his hemipenes "pockets", Plume is now on antibiotics which I have to inject every 3 days. That's going to be fun. -__-

Member Comment 11/5/2018 8:26:49 PM

Sonja K. Reptiles

Did he say it's an impacted scent gland(s)?

Author Comment 11/7/2018 12:51:32 PM


No, but the swollen area is a bit further down the tail than right behind the cloaca. He's on Ceftazidime, also for his bruised scale, so we're hoping that antibiotics will help the problem.

Author Comment 12/3/2018 2:07:01 PM


Updates: Antibiotics are doing their job, the swell on his tail is slowly disappearing.

Member Comment 12/4/2018 11:46:23 AM

Sonja K. Reptiles

Glad to hear! :) 

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