Children's Python – more videos and information
Basic Health Checks
As in humans there is an endless list of potential health conditions that could affect a Children’s python, listed below are a few of the more common health issues that could possibly arise:
Respiratory illness – The causes of this can be a number of reasons including viruses, bacteria, extreme humidity (both too high and too low) and being kept at an inappropriate temperature. Some of the symptoms of respiratory illness may include open mouthed breathing ( caused by the snake’s nostrils been clogged with dried mucus), fluid in and around the nostrils and lips of the snake which can lead to bubbles forming when the snake breaths and the snake coughing or sneezing. If a snake shows any evidence of respiratory illness it should be taken to a veterinarian (preferably one that specializes in reptiles).
Retained Slough (skin) – As discussed above under the “Water” heading, snakes will sometimes have trouble shedding all of their skin and it may remain stuck to various parts of the animal's body. Generally, it is easy to remove this stuck skin by soaking the snake in the water and if the skin does not come off of its own accord, it can be manually removed by hand.
Snake Mite – The mite Ophionyssus natricis is a parasite that feeds on a snake’s blood and is found in reptile collections worldwide. Like many parasites, when feeding on animals they can spread disease and be irritating to the host. They can be hard to see but they often congregate around the eyes, cloaca and in the groove under the chin (mental groove) of the Children’s python. There are a few different life stages of this mite but when it is most visible it appears as a small black dot with a faint pale spot in the centre. One sign that your Children’s python may have an infestation of Snake Mite is that it is constantly sitting in its water bowl. This is assumed to help relieve any irritation and to drown the mites. If the snake does have mites and you remove it from the water bowl in which it has been soaking, you should be able to observe a number of drowned mites in the bottom of the container.
There is a number of chemical treatments to combat Snake Mite (these should be prescribed by a veterinarian) and should involve treating the snake, the enclosure in which it resides and all furnishings. Also if the animal enclosure has a substrate this should be removed and the snake kept on paper until after the treatment has finished.
As has already been mentioned, if a snake is showing any of these symptoms or there are any other concerns with the animal's health, a veterinarian should be consulted.
Handling of most snakes including Children’s pythons should be kept to a minimum. They do not particularly enjoy been picked up or nursed and therefore most handling should be restricted to moving the snake for cleaning, health checks and other husbandry purposes.
A snake hook can be a useful tool to make first contact when picking up a snake as it is at this time that a bite is most likely to occur. This can be due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, if the snake is startled by a large warm hand suddenly grabbing at it, it may want to defend itself, and the other is the snake assumes the warm hand entering its enclosure is food being presented to it and therefore it bites its assumed meal. When handling the snake should be supported from underneath and evenly with open hands.
Unless being restrained for a specific purpose such as a health check, the snake should never be held with closed hands preventing movement as this will cause stress to the animal and may lead to it becoming defensive. Also snakes do not like to be touched or petted on the head and this should not be done.
Also handling a Children’s Python for a few days after the snake is fed is not advised as this can cause the snake to regurgitate its meal.