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What to Do When Your Reptile Sheds

March 1, 2015

Do you have a pet reptile? If so, you will sooner or later be faced with your pet’s shedding cycles. Most reptiles shed at least once a year, though younger reptiles shed more frequently than adult ones. Below, your local veterinarian Niagara Falls explains what to do when your reptile sheds.

Signs of Shedding

If you pay attention to your scaled pet, you may notice some red flags that will tell you when your pet is about to shed. Snakes’ eyes become cloudy just before they are going to shed. Your pet may be itchy and irritated, and may also retreat into his hidey-hole.

Shedding Help

Your pet should have something with a rough surface that he can rub against. This will help the old skin come away more easily. Branches, rocks, or shedding aids are all acceptable for this. A soak in tepid water may also be beneficial to your scaled buddy. This somewhat depends on what type of pet your scaled buddy is, so ask your vet for specific recommendations. Reptiles often get a bit grumpy at shedding time, so if you must handle your pet, be very gentle and use proper precautions.

The Skin

Snakes should shed their entire skin in one piece. Think of a sock turning inside out. That’s more or less what your scaled pal’s old skin should look like. Check to make sure that the shed skin includes eyecaps. If there are holes where your pet’s eyes are, he may have retained the eyecaps. Contact your vet if this happens. Incomplete shedding can also cause health issues in your reptilian pal, so if you don’t see a whole skin, call your vet immediately.

Helpful Tips

You may find it useful to keep track of the dates your pet sheds. Reptiles are more likely to have problems shedding if they feel distressed, so make sure your pet gets proper nutrition and is comfortable in his cage. With some reptiles, a gentle massage or a light application of baby oil is helpful. This isn’t the case with all reptiles, however, so check with your vet. You should also do some research on your particular type of pet so you know exactly what to expect around shedding time.

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