Seeking advice on snake death a month after purchase

I was hesitant to post about this, but it is really eating me up inside. I purchased a GORGEOUS 1300g adult girl on MM and fell in love with her, her passing has broken my heart.
Caveat: I did have misgivings from the start, and I should have listened to my gut, but I did not. I am also going to do my best to keep details vague because I am not wanting to call out the seller. I basically want to know if I should have taken recursive action or if this is an expensive lesson learned. Here goes.

Got her delivered on 4 September. Opened the box excitedly and I was already concerned. The box she was in did not have a styrofoam piece on the top to protect her and she had gotten her head lodged in-between the cardboard flaps on the inside. She had also gotten the tip of her snoot out of the bag. I’m lucky the FedEx guy didn’t put anything heavy on top of her and she did not have any outward injuries. She also had quite a bit of stuck shed.
I contacted the seller and let them know about the packaging, sent some pictures, especially of her head (her normal patterning had some purple/pink tinge on her crown but given the circumstances, I was nervous it was bruised). The seller said the color is normal and she’s fine, nothing about the packing issues. Alright, cool.

She gets placed in the quarantine rack with a hatchling I had gotten the previous day in the unused bathroom (for temp control). Separate floor from my snake room. She was eating well, finally had a successful shed, and all was good. About 2 weeks in, she started developing the wheezing. Then the mucus and bubbles. I upped her humidity to see if that would kick it out of her system as I awaited the vet appointment. And of course, by day 2 of her symptoms, I was quarantined awaiting COVID test results due to exposure and symptoms, so I had to cancel the appointment. Results showed negative a few days later and I immediately brought her in. They gave me the shots and I was hopeful. After a few treatments, I went in to check on her, and she had passed on 8 October. Also, the hatchling had no symptoms and is still thriving.

Is this a case of poor luck? Should I be going back to the seller? Any advice or shared experiences?

TL;DR snake arrived poorly packaged, got sick two weeks later, passed a month after delivery.

If you don’t know what caused her death then it might be a good idea to have a necropsy done to find out how she died.
If you know what illness she had that caused her death then it depends on what it was, if it was RI or something similar then it probably originated from the seller, whether or not they sold her knowing that, I don’t know. If it was something that was husbandry related from you then it’s pretty much your fault and not the sellers liability. Based on the description on packaging, stuck shed, etc. I’d say that the seller isn’t the most responsible and it probably was from the seller but you can’t hold them liable until you have proof of it being from their neglect. Also look through their terms of sale to see if there’s anything in there about a health guarantee or anything that might be relevant to this scenario. However no matter what the outcome you should still contact the seller and see if they will voluntarily offer some form of compensation.

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She definetly had an RI. With none of my other snakes having any health problems and eating/shedding on a regular enough basis (for BPs) and everyone kept in a similar set-up, I was leaning towards something from shipping and/or something she caught where she came from. (but trust me, I went through evaluating myself and my husbandry) A real good reminder why I quarantine new arrivals. It’s been a month, is it too late to contact the seller? I really appreciate your input. I’m learning to navigate this business.

My main concern with having an RI that did end up fatal would be Nidoviris. I know you can test live animals for it, I’m not sure about testing animals they have passed. It is highly contagious and if it was the culprit I would be concerned about the other snake in that rack.

I am so sorry that happened to you though! :cry:


How long would it take for Nidoviris manifest? The little boy is doing great and I moved him once she started showing symptoms. Luckily my girlfriend is cool with snakes in all parts of the house.

Thanks, it was rough. She got a good burial in the garden and some new flowers.

I’m not familiar with the incubation period itself. It the little one shows any RI symptoms I would test for it! Glad he is doing well.

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I’ll do some research. Thanks!! He’s growing fast and strikes anything that moves… Love the fiery ones!

A snake can just have an RI without Nido

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Absolutely! I did Not say that it had to have Nido. I simply said I would be concerned about Nido if the snake died, and would test or keep testing in mind to be safe. Nido is around more than people realize and anytime a new snake has or gets an RI I recommend testing for Nido. I watched a dear friend loose their whole collection to it after bringing in a snake from a super reputable big name breeder.
If her other snake that was in QT with this one gets an RI I was recommending testing to be safe. I would rather be out the rest money than a collection of snakes.

That being said I test all new animals for crypto and Nido before they enter my main room as well as testing boas for IBD.


How do you test them? Is it expensive?


You have to order the swabs separate but once you have swabs in hand it’s about $25 per test


Thank you!! That is a great resource I didn’t even know existed…