All newly acquired reptiles should have fecal exams done by a veterinarian that specializes in reptiles to check for bacteria, protozoa and worms.  When your snake first defecates, collect the feces in a clean plastic bag, seal it, label it with your name, phone number, date and your snake's name, then take it, and your snake, to a reptile vet.

Bacterial and parasitic infections are the two greatest threats to your corn snake.  Many of the parasites, bacteria and protozoans can be transmitted to humans and other reptiles.  Left untreated, these infestations can ultimately kill your reptile.  Medications are available to treat these conditions.

Ectoparasites, such as ticks and mites, must also be dealt with. With proper instruction, this is something you can do yourself if the infestation is mild.  Allowed to escalate, ectoparasites can kill their host.

Observe your snake every day to spot any problems early.  Treat the problem as soon as it is noticed to prevent other health problems.

Some snakes will constantly rub their nose against the screened top of the tank in an effort to find a way out. The resulting abrasions should be treated with an antiseptic and antibiotic ointment.

Signs of ill-health

Listlessness, failure to eat over several weeks or regurgitating meals can be signs of bacterial or endoparasite infection. Take you animal to a reptile vet, with a fecal or vomitus sample enclosed in a ziplock bag.

If the skin around the neck forms wrinkles and puckers, the snake is severely dehydrated and you must see a vet. The vet will either administer subcutaneous fluids or show you how to force fluids. Snakes cannot digest food when dehydrated, so emaciation will set in if the condition is left untreated. Then, respiratory infections, parasites and other problems, and possibly death, will occur.

Thin, stringy mucous coming out of nose or mouth or changes in feces or urates (different color, consistency, frequency) are signs of disease or infection.


Snakes need special care during shedding. Because of the critical nature of shedding, it is best to ask the advice of a veterinarian.  As a reptile grows, its old skin become too tight and worn. A new skin awaits just below the old. As a snake gets ready to shed, its eyes will turn a milky blue over the course of several days, and the body color will start to dull and develop a whitish sheen. Once the eyes have cleared, the snake is ready to shed. To assure proper hydration, soak the snake in warmish water after the eyes clear; this should enable to snake to shed easily within the next 24 hours.