Corn snake baby with upper respiratory: suggestions on how to treat?

How would one remedy an upper respiratory infection in a baby corn snake?
My temps were not right, for at least one full day - maybe two, as I was gone nearly the entire weekend for festivities and volunteer work that I wasn’t home to check temps. We’ve had wintering weather, so it’s been several degrees cooler in my house. Heat has been on but apparently my heat pad hasn’t been working correctly. Half seems to be working at its fullest functioning while it is lacking on the other side, making temps cooler.
What I have done is place the baby in a small, shoe box container and upped the heat. Removed the substrate. Removed one full hide, placed water bowl hide on the cool end since it is what he favors and other hide on the hot end.
Should I increase humidity?
He seems alert, just sneezy.

Any help would be amazing. Thank you!

You need to take them to the a exotics vet that handles reptiles and get tests done so you can figure out what medicine they need. RI’s are not something you can treat at home, and attempting to do so would be irresponsible as there is no “remedy” for it despite what some people like to think. Do not up humidity as that could make it worse for a corn snake, and don’t have the heat go any higher than 90°F. I also don’t know what you mean by “sneezy” as snakes can’t sneeze or cough.


How long have you had him? What makes you think respiratory infection? Just having temps be a bit too cool shouldn’t cause an RI, as far as I’m aware. They can tolerate pretty cold temperatures - the biggest risk would be a regurge if he had been fed.

I’ve had one corn that always got “sneezy” right before a shed. Not really sneezing, but like a random forceful puff of air. It always went away after his shed.


True! Snakes have no diaphragm. So I’m guessing you’re hearing abnormal respiratory sounds.

If you need an exotics vet


The sound is a crackle. I noticed stuck shed on his nose before moving him away from the rest of the collection (he came in with four others at the same time).
I’ll contact a vet this morning - I’m more concerned with what I can do in the mean time while I wait for an appointment at this point. I’ve been keeping snakes for a while but have never had an issue like this so forgive me for my ignorance.
I was pretty confident in his heating but upon checking him last night something just was off. I haven’t had too much to do with him since I got him just because he needed to adjust. So this maybe has been going on for a while. I haven’t checked temps since Friday (or Thursday?) so I can only assume that’s what caused it as he was a healthy guy when he arrived a few weeks back.

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False alarm: he was shedding.
I went to check him this morning and found a perfect shed along with a good poo in his tiny tub.
He apparently doesn’t show any signs of shedding - eyes didn’t change nor did his color. Just one little scale that stuck straight up in the center of his nose.

Sorry - and thank you to those who took the time to respond to this thread!


Well, I’m glad he wasn’t sick! Everyone makes mistakes, so be happy it wasn’t a mistake that could have hurt the little dude.

Please go to a vet. When my boa had a respiratory infection, I did not notice it at first but when I did notice it. I ended up taking him to a vet, and they said that it was an emergency case. 14 days of liquid injection shots 50 mg/ml 0.1 ml when he was 140g. The vet said that he must have had a moderate respiratory infection when I purchased him from the reptile store, and combined with the fact that he has airway deformities. It made it much worse.
Luckily he did make it out all right and now it’s three years old, I could’ve learned a really hard way. I hope they take care need to vet.


I agree with @lumpy . “Crackles” is literally a term used in veterinary medicine to describe a type of abnormal respiratory sound. I also suggest a thermostat, rather than checking manually. It’s safer and you can set alarms with a quality one.

Also, if your heating pad is unreliable, it is most definitely time for a new one. I lost the first hatchling I ever hatched when she was several years old, when I was in my 20s. I got lazy about checking temps- there was no thermostat I could just glance at to check- and I didn’t catch that her heater had died in time. She died of chronic hypothermia. Her name was Stewie