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I have a juvenile corn snake. This is her second shed with me so far, and the first went very easily. This time, however, she seems to be unwilling or unable to fully work her skin off. On Thursday night I first noticed that she'd begun to shed, and she'd successfully worked off the skin on her head and the base of her neck. (It looked very clean, and from what I can tell both eye caps came off.) From my experience with the previous shed I assumed she'd work the rest of it off over the course of the night. Since then, however, she's made no further progress at all--it's now Saturday morning here, and she still doesn't have her shed any further down than the spot on her neck near her head. I can tell she's not completely inactive, since she's moved between her hot and cool side hides, but instead of rubbing up against the rough objects in her tank she seems to only be hiding inside one hide or the other.

I'm beginning to get very worried--am I correct that this is longer than a snake should take from the beginning of the skin peeling off to having the full shed loose? (I see lots of resources online for how long it should take from blue phase to shed, but none for how long the shed should take.) And if so, what actions should I taking here? About fifteen minutes ago, upon waking up, I made a moist hide out of Tupperware and paper towels; she's in that currently and I'm hoping it will help, but I'm not sure what further I can do.

For further details: she ate two pinky mice last Sunday, her hot side is 84 degrees, her cool side fluctuates slightly but generally is around 70-75,her humidity is and has been at around 35-40%. Other than the usual pre-shed shyness I haven't noticed anything unusual about her behavior lately.

  • Welcome to pets! Do you think you could post some photos? – Rebecca RVT Apr 8 '18 at 0:41
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During a corn snakes shedding phase you will have to increase the humidity to facilitate a shed. A healthy shed comes off in one full piece.

A trick that works quite well is:

1) Grab a clear container with a lid big enough for your snake, make sure there is air circulation.

2) Get some cotton filter foam pads and place it at the bottom of the bin. Make sure there is a thick layer that covers the whole bottom. I like these pads as they are a bit rough which helps a ton with shedding.

3) Add warm water to soak up the cotton with a little extra.

4) Add a few rough objects for her to rub on.

5) Place a heat lamp safely above (not on) the container to ensure she stays warm.

Place her in there and check in every 30 minutes or so, typically it comes off within a few hours. I would not keep her in there longer than 1-2 hours max.

  • If a few rough objects isn't sufficient, you could also replace the cotton pads with a layer of wood substrate. If you add warm water to this, this should be rough enough along with the moist to rub off the remaining sheds. – JAD Apr 9 '18 at 6:33
  • And maybe it's stating the obvious, but make sure the water isn't too warm. Hand-warm (like 30-35C) should be enough. – JAD Apr 9 '18 at 6:39
  • Coming back to my own question much, much later, this ended up being the answer. I put her in a tupperware with moist towels and airholes for a while, then had her crawl across my damp-washcloth-covered hand and it all came off easily. I upped the humidity in her tank about 10% and she hasn't had a problem since. Thank you! – user11881 Nov 1 '18 at 6:24
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Humidity is key here. If the enclosure isn't humid enough, the shed may dry out and be hard for the snake to remove. It is essential that these stuck pieces are removed, because they may hinder the snake's future growth if they are stuck, especially as this is a juvenile.

As Rebecca's answer already mentions, getting the snake nice and humid for a while should help with getting the stuck shed off. I personally own a Ball python that doesn't manage to shed properly. It's always torn to pieces and never really comes off well. So in the days leading up to him shedding, we give him some nice baths. We just fill a tub with a layer of lukewarm water. Make sure that you don't fill it up too high, you don't want your snake to drown. After soaking for about half an hour should help a lot with getting these pieces off. It happens quite often that he starts shedding then and there.

Another thing you can do in the future is to mist the enclosure a bit more than normal when you notice your snake is about to shed. When it starts showing blue-ish eyes, make sure that the humidity is a bit higher than normal, just to help them with shedding. Hopefully that's all that's needed in the future. Aim for like 60% of humidity.

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