Help: Ball Python Belly Burn

Hello. I have a 200+/- ball python who developed a burn when the heat tape under his tub malfunctioned. The other two snakes sharing the rack in their tubs had normal temperatures and are okay, thankfully. I feel incredibly guilty as the malfunction happened overnight.

With the mass amounts of overwhelmed vet hospitals I’m unable to get an appointment with any of the reptile/exotic vets until Monday.

For treatment thus far I have soaked him in a antibacterial solution (briefly) to clean the burn area and than I moved him directly into a new tub with no substrate as it was sticking to the stomach. He is currently comfortable on paper towels. After the soak he had a small bowel movement but even his vent area is quite red. He was beginning to shed when this happened. Areas of the burn are still quite pink towards the lower tail and the section higher up has already blistered and is now red and scabbed.

Are there any remedies to help in the meantime? Internet advice is, as expected, mixed. I want to clarify he WILL be seeing a vet and I am on the cancellation list for over the weekend. My primarily goal at this point is to help with pain and prevent a downturn in health.

I can post photos if helpful.


1 Like

Betadine soaks 2-3 times a week… neosporin without pain reliever can be applied also. If it’s blistering likely you will need antibiotics from the vet. Keep as clean as possible!

Poor baby, it’s good that you caught it so soon!

Steelserpents has the best advice to start out with here.

As weird as it sounds…it might not be too bad that you need to wait for the vet visit. The problem with burn wounds is that the damage to the deeper tissues can take a bit longer to appear. When this happens, the tissue will start to go necrotic and slough off. The vet can help debride this and get that tissue out of the way so healing can start. Depending on when the vet can see you, you may already have some of this happen before the visit, but don’t be shocked if it takes a bit longer for some of the damage to show up. This isn’t because you’re not doing enough! It’s just the nature of burn wounds and tissue damage.
Hopefully if the damage worsens after the visit they can see you again quickly to clean the area.

I had a rescue with a SEVERE burn wound. It took a week for the damage to really show. He did great once I got him home and started him on a soaking routine, silvadine sulfa cream and a lot of patience.
He needed soaks daily to keep flushing the tissue and helping to keep things on the mend for the first two weeks. There will be a lot of shedding while they try to heal the area up, and depending on how extensive, they may refuse to eat for some time. Or if you do try to feed, I went with smaller prey to help keep the area from stretching and irritating more. Even now, 2 years later, he still eats smaller prey than I would normally give to a snake of his size because of the scar tissue and risk of him regurging the meals.