Help with Corn Snake (swelling)

When is the last time she pooped? Can you get a closer picture of the end of the swollen area. I see a dark band there, could that be stuck shed? Where is her vent in this photo, is it above, below, or directly underneath that dark band?


Like @erie-herps stated when was her last poo and what did it look like? Also is that dark band her cloaca opening? She is either so severely impacted from constipation and/or swallowing substrate that she is completely blocked. Or could be perhaps infected abscess or growth inside? More then likely needs a reptile vet at the look of it.


That is definitely serious.
Another question… has she been bred? Is this possibly a retained egg that has now bound her?

She really needed the first vet to say “I can’t do this” and help get you set up with a reptile vet.
Unfortunately these things happen and having to drive over an hour is something that many reptile owners don’t take into account until an emergency happens. It’s actually quite common unless you happen to be lucky or live in a generally large population center.
One of the first things I even had to do prior to when I last moved was ask for vet recommendations nearby because of pre-existing conditions my dog and cat have


That looks really bad… i would figure out how to get yourself to a vet regardless of the distance if i were you… The blockage/swelling is so intense, there’s most likely going to be no possibility of waste moving out of her system. Regardless of the cause itself, that kind of blockage could kill itself.


I’m sorry that your and your snake are going through this trial. I agree with others, this issue needs veterinary attention. It’s beyond what we can reasonably help with, and it looks as though it’s quite uncomfortable. I’m sorry that you’ve had difficulty finding a veterinarian who can help her. Please do keep trying…

This is unfortunately too correct. I’ve spent a lot of time in vet’s offices this past week with one of my snakes. The drive there is about an hour and a half each way. I’m thankful that they’re available at only that distance.


First off, Thank you all very much for the many replies and warm welcome, I was afraid to hear a lot of “should have done this or that sooner” type of replies but you all have been very helpful.
I’m going to keep you updated. And thank you for telling me to not feed her anymore as the vet I went to told me it would be fine to keep feeding.

To answer some questions, she is being held alone so egg binding seems unlikely.
The swelling is on the lower third of her body above tail and cloaka and furthermore has trouble shedding


Here are some more photos

her poop at the moment

Also I wonder if giving her a bath now would be dangerous, the vet told me that at this point the cloaca could burst from it.


We care about people and we care about animals. We very much want to support people who are trying to learn and trying to give their animals good care.

I’m afraid this is incorrect. It’s often a shock to unsuspecting owners but females who have always lived alone can and do produce eggs. It’s not even uncommon. (These are virtually always infertile but there have actually been documented instances of fertile eggs produced via parthenogenesis.) If she was ever with a male, she may have stored sperm until this season. It is possible that you’re girl is eggbound, despite being kept alone.

I’m not a vet, but I will say that I don’t quite understand this. Please note: I am not encouraging you not to follow veterinary advice. I know that warm water can cause an abscess to burst. Maybe that’s what the vet was thinking. The thing is, having an abscess open is normally actually a good thing. It’s regularly done by vets who drain abscesses and leave the wound open to promote drainage and reduce. This protocol includes antibiotics. It’s worth asking the vet for clarification of this. I know it’s Sunday, so this may not be possible today.

The stuck shed will need to be dealt with, though it’s far from the most serious issue at the moment. You could try putting her in a moist hide if it’s been only a couple of days since she shed. If it’s been longer, the stuck bits may have adhered too firmly to the new skin to come off until she sheds again. Again, does need attention but not the most pressing problem.

We’re pulling for you!


Not a vet, but based on her condition currently, I’d give her a soak in some lukewarm water, perhaps with some added betadine. She needs to get that stuck shed off, for sure. She’s also likely dehydrated due to whatever infection she’s got, either primary or secondary.

However, all of that said, what she needs most is a reptile vet, as soon as possible, and even then I’d say her prognosis isn’t great. That amount of swelling & the color of the tissue is incredibly concerning.


I strongly agree with this.

Quick note: if you do soak her in water with an additive (e.g. betadine), do not allow her to drink while she is soaking.

I have very limited reptile veterinary knowledge, but I think it is absolutely imperative you get some diagnostic imaging done at a reptile vet immediately, must be within this week at the latest. Do not try to massage the lump and definitely don’t try and move the lump manually, I watched a horrible death from someone attempting that (I was not in a position to intervene). I am not a reptile vet, but I am making an educated guess that brief, regular room-temperature soaks are called for.

Aside from the immediate necessity for a vet that can do imaging +/- other diagnostic tests, as well as treatment. treatments, my main advice is to make absolutely sure that your temps are 100% dialed in throughout the entire enclosure.

It’s not impossible that her temps are too low for proper digestion, sometimes husbandry can be just a little off and cause issues. Like for example (:see_no_evil:) I once didn’t notice my humidifier was empty for a day or two, and a couple of my leos had shed during that time and they had tons of stuck shed. It’s tough to talk about, but about 15 years ago, (when I had very different husbandry practices), I found one of my leos dead out of nowhere, and found out her heat mat had died & I had neglected to check her temps often enough to notice. So I’d recommend doing a thorough check with a heat gun throughout the enclosure, just to ensure that temperature isn’t a factor contributing to her issue.


Oh gosh, that poor girl, that looks so painful. :worried: I’m not a vet of any sort, but given the degree of swelling and the colour of the tissue, it looks pretty serious and like there’s likely some sort of infection festering (though whether the infection is the root problem, or just a secondary symptom, I couldn’t say). I definitely echo everyone else’s advice to get her to a qualified reptile vet as soon as humanly possible. I know it can be a pain when the nearest qualified vet is a ways away, but often that’s just the reality of keeping any sort of exotic pet. She really does need to see someone who knows about reptile physiology, can take images, and perform other diagnostic tests so you can figure out what’s going on and hopefully get your girl treated and feeling better.

I also second @mblaney’s suggestion of double-checking all you temps and husbandry parameters, just to be sure that she’s not experiencing any further stress by being too hot or too cold.

I recently had a similar (though thankfully less dire) situation when the power strip I had my sand boa’s light and heat plugged into stopped working in the middle of the night. I noticed it when her light didn’t come on in the morning, then noticed her enclosure was cold. Fortunately I was able to get everything plugged into a functional power strip and the snake was fine (thank goodness sand boas are hardy and our nights aren’t too cold), but it served as a good reminder to always be vigilant with husbandry, because you just never know when something could fail.


I think you should soak her daily in warm water. If it is a cyst or an abscess and it should burst during a soak, it would alleviate the pressure and reduce any pain she might have.

In a couple of the pictures it looks like there is a sort of plug?

Anyway, find a reptile vett quickly and make the drive asap.

Best wishes to you and her! :pray::snake:


Hey everyone, quick update

She was at a specialist clinic today, they made an operation on her which she sadly did not survive.
The wound is still fresh so I’m going to give some more detail later on.
Thanks to everyone for their wishes and suggestions

a photo of the cute little Angel


I’m so sorry to hear that. She was lovely. When you feel ready to talk more about it, feel free to come back.


Sorry for you. Least you tried to get help, and she didn’t have to suffer any longer.


You did what you could, unfortunately sometimes things don’t end the way we’d hope. I’m sorry for the loss of your beautiful girl, we are all here for you. :blue_heart: :people_hugging:


I feel badly for you because I know all too well what it feels like to lose a beloved pet. As @solarserpents said, come back when you’re ready. :pray::heart:


I’m so sorry. You did what you could for her, and sometimes things just happen with animals and we can’t make it better- I wish you comfort, and know you did the right things.


I am sorry that this had to happen to you. It might be hard but remember you did what you could and it wasn’t your fault.