It is important to bathe your pet snake, as weird as it may sound. Even though not all species of reptiles like to be soaked in water, it is undoubtedly good for their well-being. When we talk about bathing a snake, we only recommend letting it sit in water.
Using soaps or other chemical-containing products is a big NO! – they might cause an allergic reaction on their skin.
This article provides all the details on how to give a snake a bath and why it is essential for them.
Do Snakes Need Bathing?
Whether you should bathe your snake or not depends mainly on their species. Most breeds of snakes enjoy getting a bath as it allows them to relax, maintains their hydration levels, and nourishes their skin.
Snakes that belong to tropical locations where humidity is high often like to be in the water. These include cobras and carol snakes. Other than that, anacondas or snakes from Nerodia species often enjoy the water as semi-aquatic animals.
Hence, it is essential to learn about the type of snake you have as a pet and the environment required for proper nourishment. Lack of water or high surrounding temperature can lead to death in most snakes.
Moreover, if you notice that your snake is sick, a bath may relieve its pain and make it feel better.
Why Should I Bath my Snake?
Here are four common reasons why it is essential to let your snake sit in water and have a bath.
High surrounding temperature or lack of clean water can cause dehydration in snakes resulting in flaky or wrinkled skin and health complications.
Reptiles can absorb water through their skin, and the easiest way to rehydrate them is to give them a bath in lukewarm water. Adding dilute Pedialyte to the water is also an excellent option to maintain electrolyte levels.
Constipation can occur in snakes due to overfeeding, feeding frozen foods, and low surrounding temperatures, which lowers their body water and leads to hard feces.
Bathing your snake in lukewarm water for 15-20 minutes can provide them with enough water to soften their feces, allowing easy defecation. The warm water will also help relax their bodies and ease the pain caused by constipation.
Removing Stuck Shed
As snakes grow in size, their old skin sheds. Sometimes the skin does not shed off all at once; instead, it might come off in pieces.
In such cases, the skin around the eyes can get stuck. Bathing your snake can help soften the shed and remove it without causing any pain.
If your pet snake spends a lot of time outside, it can get muddy and may bring germs inside your house.
Hence, giving your snake a bath can maintain its cleanliness, help its muscles relax, and prevent them from getting sick.
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How to Give a Snake a Bath
Bathing a snake is not complicated. The process is easy and safe but depends on the particular species you are dealing with.
It takes a maximum of 30 minutes, and you will end up with a clean, hydrated, and happy snake. Here are a few steps you can follow:
What You Need
- A clean, shallow, and wide tub
- Clean lukewarm water
- A stone or a pebble
- A towel
- Pedialyte (Optional)
Step 1 – Choose the Right Tub
The first thing you will need is a shallow tub or bucket. The size of the tub depends entirely on the size of your snake. However, if you are giving a bath to a snake to treat its constipation, a larger container or bathtub is best for them to stretch around.
Some snakes do not like taking a bath and may try to get out. To prevent your pet snake from coming out of the tub, place a lid and drill holes on it to allow airflow. A lid with side locks is better as the snake would not push it off.
Note: Many people will just use their bathtub which is fine too.
Step 2 – Add Water
As snakes are cold-blooded animals, warm or room temperature water is suitable for bathing them. It should be around 80F-85F, but it can vary depending on your species.
Make sure not to overfill the container as it can cause them to float and feel stressed. Pour in enough to submerge your snake’s body to help it move freely.
Furthermore, use clean water only to prevent your snake from getting sick. You can also add a bit of Pedialyte (amazon link – opens in a new tab) in diluted form to the water so that if your pet drinks it, it remains hydrated.
Step 3 – Bathe Your Snake
After adding water, place a rock (amazon link – opens in a new tab) in the middle of the container for the snake to wrap around it. The stone will help your pet to feel safe and secure.
If you are bathing your snake to get rid of the stuck shed, using a rough textured stone can help it rub the dead skin off.
Once your container is set and the water has been added, place your snake inside for bathing. Depending on their mood, as all snakes are different, they might explore the bath or lay around the rock.
Step 4 – Dry Your Snake
After taking them out of the water, you can gently pat your snake dry although if there is some stuck shed, you can use a warm damp towel and gently rub off the excess skin. It would not hurt the snake at all and would make it feel good.
Can You Shower with Your Snake?
It is not recommended to shower with your snake for a variety of reasons. While some people may do it without any problems, it can be dangerous for both you and your snake.
Firstly, the water temperature that will be comfortable for you will be too hot for the snake’s sensitive skin.
Secondly, your snake could get hurt if it slips and falls, and you could get bitten if your snake gets startled.
Thirdly, the snake is unlikely to enjoy the sensation of the water continuously hitting it.
And finally, any soaps that you may use can strip away their natural oils, which can lead to skin problems.
Your pet snake only needs 10 – 15 minutes of bath time to feel better. A bath will hydrate them and make them cleaner. It can also nourish their skin and maintain their overall health.
Following the steps mentioned in this article can ensure your pet snake has a good bathing experience.
Reptile Wrestler Tips!
“Do NOT use any soap when cleaning your snake – water alone is sufficient!”
“Around an inch of water in your bathtub is ideal, particularly for a larger snake so they can move about freely!”
“Do not shower with your snake, if it becomes stressed and agitated and this could cause you or your snake an injury!”
“A good time to bathe your snake is just before they begin to shed, this will hydrate their skin and make it easier for them!”
What soap can I use on my snake?
Soaps and detergents are not safe to use on snakes, as they can cause irritation and burn the skin.
How long should I bathe my snake for?
10 – 15 minutes should be plenty of time to bathe your snake. Make sure the water is warm but not too hot, as snakes can be sensitive to changes in temperature. Be sure to towel dry your snake afterward so it doesn’t get cold.
How often should you bathe a snake?
Snakes should be bathed as often as necessary to keep them clean and healthy. Some people bathe their snakes every week, while others only bathe them every few months. It all depends on the snake’s environment, how dirty it becomes, and if it needs help removing any stuck shed.
Hi, I’m Stuart and I’ve had reptiles for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I studied for a master’s in Herpetology. Over the years I have worked at several zoos before opening my very own reptile sanctuary. In my spare time, I run this website – which is a resource for people who want to learn more about their little beasties.