An Awful Start to the Day

I wanna start off by saying that Sindragosa (aka Raisinet) is doing just fine. This thread is about Arthas, my male Ice. I also want to warn that what I’m about to describe may be disturbing for some people.

I woke up early this morning and found Arthas laying in a weird position in his tank when I went into the office. I turned the light on and he moved, so I passed it off as me having come in when he was mid-movement and freezing in place, which happens from time to time as he’s near the door. I didn’t think anything of it at first. But when I heard leaves rustling (he doesn’t usually disturb the leaves enough to make noise) I checked back in on him and found he wasn’t moving his head at all. His body was moving and he was just sort of dragging his head along trying to get it to move.

I immediately got my husband up and we took him out of the enclosure to see what was going on. I’m still not sure what happened. He had his mouth open at one point (and left it open for about 30 seconds) and we checked inside, there wasn’t anything that we could see in his mouth or throat. Then he just went limp and was gone. I don’t understand what happened. He ate just fine for me yesterday in the early afternoon, he hadn’t regurgitated his mouse this morning, he moved as normal and acted normal all yesterday. I’m at a complete loss other than something neurological? Or maybe he was climbing and hit his head? There wasn’t even enough time to think about getting him to the vet. (this was at 6am so our vet wasn’t even open yet) I checked his temps, they were all normal. Everything in his enclosure was normal…

I’m so beside myself wondering if I did something wrong or if he had a health issue that we couldn’t have known about (we being my husband and I and even the breeder). I feel like I failed him, but I don’t know what I could have done otherwise. My other snakes are all fine as far as I can tell, too. I just don’t know what happened. By all accounts, he should have been fine.

Has anything like this ever happened to anyone else? Is there something I’m missing in my husbandry?


Oh no! I’m so sorry! That’s just awful. He looked completely normal in your last pics recently. Climbing and hitting his head doesn’t sound likely. They’re so light that even a large fall doesn’t typically hurt them.

It’s so hard when it’s such a random death. It really doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong.

If you can afford it, a necropsy might be possible if you put his body in the fridge.


I’m so sorry for your loss, it’s extra difficult when you lose one so suddenly. As Olivia said, you might consider refrigerating his body and getting a necropsy if you can afford it.

My first thoughts based on how you found him would be some sort of internal issue/birth defect, illness, or toxin. The problem with snakes is that they will hide that there’s anything wrong until they physically can’t any longer, making it difficult to really know what’s going on until it’s too late.


Thank you Olivia and noodlehaus for the kind words. :heart:

I thought the same thing about him falling and hitting his head, that it was unlikely, but my brain wouldn’t let the concept go until someone else verified it.

I had considered getting a necropsy, but it’s not really something I can afford at the moment as much as I’d like to get it done just to be certain what was wrong.

He wasn’t the sort to refuse a meal, either. So that was never a good indication of what was going on. :frowning: My good, sweet boy, I wish there was a way he could have told me something was wrong. That’s the unfortunate part about a lot of animals tbh.

I’ll be watching the others closely for a while, but I do think it was limited to him as they’re totally normal today. I use the same water for all of them (distilled as we have really hard water here), the same mice from RodentPro… Everyone snarfed down their food yesterday, even my new addition who I expected to refuse. I will say snakes from Chris Nicholas are excellent feeders and otherwise are amazing! I’m sure there was nothing going on that he could have known about head of time.

I do wish I could get a necropsy but my funds are tied up in my upcoming surgery in two days. I will say I’m relieved that if this bad thing had to happen it happened now instead of me coming home to find him deceased. That would have been even more terrible. :sob: I know he’s “just a snake” but at least we were with him at the end.


I wouldn’t expect any others to have issues, it’s likely it was just one of those unexpected things that happens sometimes. Doesn’t make it hurt any less, but take comfort in the fact that you truly cared for him and gave him a great life in the time he was with you.

I wouldn’t use distilled water, the distillation process removes all of the impurities, including necessary minerals and electrolytes. Water purified by reverse osmosis is what you’ll want (usually just sold as purified water).

Take care of yourself, especially with the upcoming surgery. We’re all here for you, it’s never easy losing a pet you care so much about. :people_hugging:


Oh no, I am so very sorry for your loss. I was just admiring your pictures of him the other day, he was such a gorgeous boy. How awful to lose him so suddenly like this. :worried: It almost sounds like something neurological, with how he was moving…though I’m definitely not qualified to diagnose anything. I’m sure it wasn’t because of anything you did, it’s clear how much you love your animals and that you take wonderful care of them. I seriously doubt that any of your other snakes are at risk, though I’m sure you’ll be keeping an extra close eye on them just in case.

Sending virtual hugs to you and your family. Be sure to look after yourself. :heart:


Oh my, I was unaware of this. I’d been told long ago to use distilled and just always have. I’ll pick up some purified water asap. Thank you for the tip!

Thank you so much. :people_hugging:

Thank you so much for this, it is greatly appreciated. :heart:


I’m so sorry. I don’t have any tips or ideas, being pretty new to this world, but my heart is with you. I’m glad you could be with him there at the end, but I’m terribly sorry for your loss at all. Big hugs. Take care of yourself and take some time to mourn.


Oh my goodness @metalheadreptiles how awful for you! The only thing that I can add to the condolences already given is that I firmly believe God gives us animals to love and cherish only for a short time on this earth before He calls them back, sometimes leaving us devastated. :heart::pray:

That being said, grieve for Arthas as long as you need to, until you are healed. Time is on your side because as time passes the hurt will lessen. You won’t forget but you won’t hurt as badly.

Even if you had a necropsy done you still may not get an answer and I think deep down you already know that your husbandry is correct and this unexpected passing was caused by an unknown event totally out of your control. You just have to push through it. Not over it not under it but through it.

As was said above, we are here to support you in every way possible! All the best to you for a successful surgery and quick healing. God bless you. :pray::heart:



Thank you very much. Hugs back!

Thank you for saying this, Caron. I needed to hear it! Even though I know it’s not my fault and was beyond my control, there is a part of me that wants to blame myself. I’m ignoring the negative self-talk and choosing to remember Arthas as the good, sweet boy he was. :heart:

Thank you and God bless you as well! You’re such a sweetheart. :heart:


Sweet Emma, I am so very sorry that you’ve had this heartbreak. I somehow missed this thread earlier. It’s not your fault. I know that you’re still hurting and I’m sorry. You did your best for Arthas while he was with you, and your best was a good as anyone’s. We can’t always know why when things go wrong, and that just makes it all harder. God bless you, my friend, and may your heart heal soon. Hugs and prayers.