The purpose of this blog is to share general information and is written to the author's best knowledge. It is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. For health concerns, please seek proper veterinary care.
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Having a pet snake has the potential to be tons of fun. It’s so interesting to observe snakes, and some people even enjoy watching them eat.
Depending on the type of person that you are, you might find snakes to be the perfect pets. Others might be a little too fearful to keep snakes in their homes.
If you recently started caring for a snake, then it’s going to be important to try to give it the care that it needs. You want to try to keep it healthy so that it can thrive in your home.
This is why it’s worrisome when you notice that the snake isn’t flicking its tongue. Snakes usually flick their tongues quite a bit, but why would a snake suddenly stop doing this?
Read on to learn about some of the reasons why snakes stop flicking their tongues. This should help you to have a better idea of what you need to do.
1 – You Might Just Need to Pay More Attention
Sometimes you might just miss the fact that the snake is flicking its tongue. If you aren’t observing the snake while it eats, then you might not be seeing it when it brings its tongue out.
When you go to feed the snake, try to look to see if it’s flicking its tongue. If you still don’t notice anything, then something truly could be wrong.
2 – The Snake Could Have a Respiratory Infection
Many snake owners have noted that snakes that have respiratory infections will stop flicking their tongues. If your snake isn’t showing any signs of tongue movement, then it could be that it is dealing with an infection.
Respiratory infections can be very problematic. Snakes will experience a wide range of different symptoms.
You might notice that your snake will start wheezing. It could even make gurgling sounds when it opens its mouth to breathe.
It’s likely that the snake will be producing excess mucus during the infection. There will be more mucus in the snake’s mouth than normal and you might notice issues with nasal discharge.
Aside from this, the snake will likely experience a loss of appetite. The snake might be lethargic while it’s infected as well.
Respiratory infections are caused by bacteria. It’s even possible that this could be happening at the same time as mouth rot.
Treating a respiratory infection in a snake can be very challenging. You’re going to want to take the snake to see an exotic veterinarian.
The veterinarian will be able to determine the best treatment plan based on the severity of the infection. It’s likely that the vet will take a sample to do a bacterial culture analysis.
After this, your snake will receive treatment. Hopefully, it’ll be able to get back to feeling healthy again.
3 – Stuck Sheds
Stuck sheds can cause snakes to stop flicking their tongues as well. Snakes shed their skin every so often, but sometimes the process doesn’t go as well as it should.
If part of the skin gets stuck, then the snake can have a tough time with many things. You can try to help the snake to get through this situation, though.
Grab the snake and place it in a sealed tub that has air holes. Ensure that the tub has water in it, but not so much that the snake would drown.
Place a towel inside so that the snake will feel hidden. Leave the snake alone for around 20 minutes or so.
You might wish to keep an eye on the snake just to ensure that it doesn’t drown while trying to remove the stuck shed. There are some that have reported that snakes have died in this situation, but if you’re paying attention, it’s unlikely that anything bad will occur.
When you go to check on the snake again, it’s likely that the stuck shed will be removed. You can then place the snake back into its habitat.
Another option involves putting a snake in a damp pillowcase. Some think that this method is dangerous for the snake, but others swear by it.
You can use whichever method you feel is best. If you’re concerned, then you can ask an exotic veterinarian for advice about what you should do.
4 – Humidity Issues
You should be aware that snakes need to be kept in habitats that have the right humidity levels. If your snake is not in an environment with a good humidity level, then it could be causing it to experience various issues.
Many people have said that snakes that are staying in tanks with improper humidity will stop flicking their tongues. This means that the lack of tongue flicking could be a sign that you’re doing something wrong.
When the humidity is kept too high, many snakes will develop medical problems. For example, ball pythons are meant to be kept in environments that are between 50% and 60% humidity.
If the humidity is too low, then it can make it tougher for the snakes to shed skin properly. If the humidity is too high, then it makes it more likely that the snakes will develop respiratory issues.
It should be easy to see why humidity matters so much. This means that you need to keep an eye on the humidity level in the room that the snake is in.
Place a humidity gauge near the habitat so that you can monitor everything. These gauges aren’t expensive and they’re extremely easy to use.
It’s going to be best not to ignore the fact that your snake isn’t flicking its tongue. This could be a sign that something is seriously wrong.
If the snake is having issues with a stuck shed, then you’ll need to help it out. Thankfully, you’ll likely be able to help the snake by soaking it in a tub that has a lid with air holes.
You will need to be careful and monitor the snake to keep it from drowning, of course. After the snake finishes shedding properly, it’ll feel much better.
Respiratory issues can be very problematic for snakes. Snakes will experience many symptoms when they have these infections, and you’ll want to enlist the help of an exotic veterinarian as soon as possible.
Whenever you expect that a snake is unhealthy, it’s best to consult an expert. This will allow you to do the best that you can to take care of the snake and get it back to feeling healthy again.