Probably something like this just has happened to you: You enjoyed your amazing ball python, you were happy that everything is fine, but then you noticed it.
A weird spot around your ball python´s mouth or maybe even exzessive salivation or yellowish mucus around or inside your ball
python´s mouth? If that´s the case you really should be worried.
If your ball python really has mouth rot, this could end very badly. In this article you are going to learn how to identify mouth rot in ball pythons, what you can do now and what you can do to prevent it from happening.
Is It Really Mouth Rot?
So before you start to worry to much, first you have to make sure that your snake really has mouth rot (or stomatitis). Often new snake keepers see a dark spot around their ball python´s mouth and think that it might be mouth rot even though it is just the normal color of the snake. So here is how you can tell if it is really mouth rot.
You might see a lot of mucus inside your snake´s mouth. Most probably your snake will open it´s mouth more often than normal. Exzessive salivation is another sign of a beginning mouth rot.
If you are brave enough, have a look inside your ball python´s mouth. Do you see any red dots? Pink or purple dots? Or even black areas? If you see several of these symptoms, your ball python most probably has mouth rot. The video below shows you how to open your ball python´s mouth safely.
What Causes Mouth Rot In Ball Pythons?
Of course you need to know how this could even happen. In order to prevent mouth rot, here are the things you have to keep an eye on.
You could call it the root of all evil when it comes to diseases. Not only in animals, as you know, even humans get sick from negative stress. So you should really make sure that your ball python is not stressed. In order to prevent stress, you need a couple of hides in your ball python tank. Further, if you keep your ball python in a glass tank, place the tank in a not too busy place. Your snake should have the possibility to hide at all times.
Too frequent handling could be a problem as well. Adult ball pythons are known for being very calm and friendly, but don´t handle it too often as the snake could get stressed even without showing it.
In order to stay healthy, your ball python needs healthy food. So make sure that the mice or rats you feed are healthy as well. Don´t feed too often and don´t feed too seldom. In most cases, once a week is fine.
Some ball pythons rub their snout against the glass all day. If your ball python´s nose takes damage from that, it could lead to an infection that leads to mouth rot. You should check your tank setup if your snake does that.
Wrong Tank Setup
Probably the most common problem. Maybe your tank is too small and your snake starts to rubb it´s mouth against the glass or plastic all day. Further your humidity could be too high, which could lead to several diseases as well. If your temperature is not right, your snake could get sick. Check your tank setup!
If you need help with humidity, read this article. If you struggle to get the right temperature in your ball python enclosure, read this guide.
What You Should Do Now!
Mouth rot is not a joke. Remember "rot" means that parts of your snake are dying while your snake is still alive. This disease can even attack your ball python´s bones which is very, very painful for the snake. Most probably your snake will lose teeth if the disease has spread.
Your ball python will die if the disease is left untreated, that´s why you have to take your ball python to a vet right now.
If the mouth rot has just started and you do not see any dark areas inside your ball python´s mouth you might be able to treat the mouth rot with this product called Rot Guard. You have to mix this powder with water and flush your snake´s mouth with it.
However if your snake does not get better you should take it to a vet quickly.
This powder can help to cure a mild mouth rot in reptiles.
Mouth rot can be treated and it doesn´have to get bad for your snake if you start the treatment early. However if the mouth rot is too bad already or if you see that the disease is not getting better, you should visit a reptile vet as quickly as possible.
In order to prevent mouth rot, make sure that you have the perfect tank setup for your ball python. Most of the time this is where problems begin.