Soaking for the sake of Soaking

So it’s time for a general clean of everyone in my collection and weight time as well. And I was wondering if I should give everyone the chance to soak in a bath just to have a soak while tubs/tanks are being cleaned. My black kingsnake in particular just looks plain dirty from the bark chips we use for his tank.

So is there any reason why I shouldn’t soak?

I just don’t see a reason TO soak. They are perfectly capable of soaking themselves…you just want them to sparkle or what? I have wiped mine down with a warm damp paper towel a couple of instances where they were sitting on urate but I guess I’ve never got the soaking thing. Seems like an unnecessary stress to me. Idk I have seen differing opinions but nothing to back it up that really seems logical. They’re not like puppies, or people that need bath time right? I try and ask myself what’s the benefit not why shouldn’t I when it comes to snakes just because they’re…different.

Most of the people that do it, it seems to me they do it just because they want to. Which…fine, I guess? But I would need to see a benefit to the snakes not to myself to do it. If that makes sense.

Also if there’s someone out there please chime in but I don’t see long time experienced/established people in the hobby talking about it like they do it regularly, only new people. Which has led me to believe it’s just like giving their dog a bath in their minds and I don’t think people think it through much farther than that.

I’m happy to hear anyone’s more professional opinion on it.

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I do love monthly weigh in day tho. So exciting, I get to write stuff down and nerd out lol.


No I don’t want them to sparkle lol and nobody “stinks” or anything like that. But my black king is a very dirty boy with “dust” from the bark bits he’s currently on all up in his face scales and such. He’s not suffering anything for it other than just being a dirty boy who digs in his substrate.

Good point I don’t have a king and none of my BPs really “burrow”

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Hah good I was kidding about “sparkling,” I hope no one wants that too bad lol. Idk of king snakes are different this way but I would probably do a wipe down before a straight up bath. Definitely not a deep one.

Well consider it a sauna type situation with soft washcloths and a little bit of warm water like I do if someone is having trouble shedding… But this time just to be in to get some extra moisture I guess.

I occasionally do education shows, for which I really DO want them to sparkle. But I achieve that with a damp soapy towel. I only soak them if they are having a bad shed.


I’m with my friend Wes :wink: on this one.
If you are doing a show or expo I’d say there is no harm in the occasional scrub with a warm wet towel to get any dust or whatever away. Pretty much every animal with arms uses them to clean themselves, I’m pretty sure snakes would do the same if they could.

Soaking in a bath should only really be used to treat problems though, here is a nice video by Emily at Snake Discovery about bathing snakes.


The reason I asked is because my black kingsnake has a bunch of weird… Wearing??? On his facial scales and some around his neck area. The bark pieces he was on made it much more pronounced and just plain bad looking. I don’t think it’s anything more than him being close to shed but am worried that a respiratory thing could develop. We did a bedding change and do an entire tank clean tonight but still worried.

I love her… she’s the best!!


If you believe you have a problem health wise I’d recommend taking all substrate out of your enclosure and replacing it with paper or tissue. Preferably white so you can see any mucus or excrements that may be produced clearly and cleanly. Keep a eye on new behaviour and log everything down in a nootbook, if it turns out you do have a issue then it will come in handy when it comes too diagnosis.

what kind of “bark bedding” are you referring to exactly?

Why I put down the stuff I use for my corns in there. Gives my scared/fractious dude the ability to burrow but I will be able to see him easily. Last night while cleaning I listened to his breathing and checked him over. He seems 100% health wise (ate enthusiastically two days ago) and no raspy bubbly sounds. Just his face has dust it would seem and/or damaged scales because of the rough bedding

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It’s the Fir Bark Repti Bark stuff I’ve used for my ball python.

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@meerkatlyndz I can see how that would make your black snake appear dirty… I have my Ivory in basically dirt (biodude’s terrafirma mix) but he never looks “dirty” due to the lack of dust… Im just curious how the bark might be causing damaged scales to your little guy? Like as if he’s burrowing super hard through it?

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He’s very very anxious and constantly hoping for a way out of the tank we have him in. I’ve seen him pushing and digging everywhere. Even though the tank is 90% covered with various hides and plants and such he is still overly flighty. Was the same way in tub we had him in with the constant rubbing, pushing, ect. So just worried the burrowing through the rougher pieces of bark had damaged him or deeply pushed in bits of it between his scales. It just seems more than surface dust.

hmmm… well, other than a few minutes of “stress” to him… i would say do a soak for him and see if there are any fibers/splinters that come out from the wash. ya might have to go with a softer bedding if he’s just a derpy dude. :grimacing: just my 2 cents


He’s The Void, eater of the world! Lol but I’m gonna watch him on this new softer bedding and larger water bowl and see what comes of it during his next escape attempt. Who knows he might clean himself up. If I can get away with handling him I will. Thanks for the advice/support :slight_smile:


Good luck! What’s his name?