Molting In Reptiles

Molting problems in reptiles are common reasons for visits to the vet. An incomplete or abnormal molt is a symptom that can have various underlying causes and diseases.

Reptile Moulting: How Does It Normally Happen?

Molting in reptiles takes place differently depending on the species:

Turtles and crocodiles e.g. B. renew their skin continuously. In the case of tortoises, one can occasionally observe the shedding of pieces of skin, especially in the area of ​​the front limbs and the neck. In the case of water turtles and pond turtles, individual horny plates of their shells come off as a whole.

It is normal for snakes and a few lizards to shed their skin in one piece.

Most lizards, on the other hand, shed their skin in pieces over a period of several days.

The beginning of shedding is usually announced by pale, dull skin, which is caused by the liquid that is stored between the old and the new skin and thus facilitates shedding. The animals begin to shed the old skin by rubbing against objects. Snakes and lizards have to completely strip off every skin area in one molt.

Reptile molting: How can I support my animal?

In order to ensure healthy ecdysis (molting), it is important to know and create the best housing conditions for the animal. Humidity, the best possible supply of nutrients, temperature, and UV radiation plays a particularly important role.

The reptiles need to be provided with a stress-free environment and various objects to rub against. It is also important for aquatic turtles to have a place where they can sunbathe (possibly under a suitable UV lamp) and dry completely.

After your snake or reptile has finished molting, it makes sense to check to see if there are any bits of skin left. Lizards often leave debris on their toes or tail, while snakes can also have problems with their goggles.

Reptile molting: what problems can I fix myself?

Is your reptile shedding slowly and/or incompletely? If individual small scraps of skin remain, you can first try to increase the humidity in the terrarium.

If that doesn’t help, you can loosen the remains of the skin by bathing in lukewarm water and then rubbing it carefully, for example with a cotton swab. However, you should always be extremely careful and never simply peel off the skin! With snakes, you have to be particularly careful with the goggles, as serious damage can be caused to the animal.

It is also important to remember that a molting problem is a sign of a poorly conditioned animal and should be checked out by a reptile veterinarian. Your reptile does not shed its skin, the skin cannot be removed or you have discovered another problem? Please consult a veterinarian who knows about reptiles under all circumstances!

Reptile molting: What can the vet do if there are problems with molting?

The veterinarian will first take a close look at the reptile and try to find out what the animal is missing by asking specific questions.

It is particularly important that all remnants of skin are removed, otherwise, the old skin can cause constriction later on as the animal grows. Such constrictions can impede the blood supply to the corresponding part of the body and lead to death. They also serve as a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi and can B. cause severe skin inflammation between the toes. The veterinarian can remove the remains of the skin – in severe cases also using painkillers so as not to cause the animal unnecessary pain.

It is also necessary to determine why the reptile is having difficulty molting.

Poor posture is particularly common and should be corrected first. Infections with bacteria, fungi, or parasites (mites) also occur. Various samples are taken for diagnosis, which is examined either on-site in the practice or in an external laboratory.

Mites in particular are a common cause of uneven molting. In this case, not only the animal itself has to be treated: Partner animals, other reptiles in the household, and the terrarium also have to be treated in a specific way to prevent re-infestation.

You can also discuss the best possible housing conditions for the animal together so that the molting process goes smoothly in the future.

Reptilian molting: conclusion

The regular molting process in reptiles can be disrupted by poor posture or illness. If your reptile is having serious difficulty molting, please consult a veterinarian.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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