Boa Constrictors And Clogged Nostrils

Have you heard a strange whistling or wheezing noise coming from your boa constrictor?

Do you notice your boa constrictor having trouble breathing?

Upon investigation, the noises and trouble breathing may lead you to notice a clog in your boa’s nostril, but then you might ask:

What does it mean if a boa constrictor has a clogged nostril?

If you boa constrictor has a clogged nostril, this usually means a piece of skin has gotten stuck during the shedding process, or perhaps a bit of their cage’s substrate has gotten stuck. But, a clogged nostril may also reveal something more significant is wrong with your boa’s overall health, like a respiratory infection or other lung or heart issues.

A clogged nostril is something you will need to take seriously and address quickly.

Continue reading for what you need to know about this problem.

what does it mean if a boa constrictor has a clogged nostril

What Does It Mean If A Boa Constrictor Has A Clogged Nostril?

Boa constrictors sometimes get a clogged nostril, and it could happen no matter if you give them the best care.

A clogged nostril is most commonly the result of a stuck piece of skin following a shedding period.

This is not uncommon, but it may be a sign the humidity levels are not quite where they need to be in the boa’s enclosure, or your boa is dehydrated.

The shed should come off in one whole large piece.

Use a gauge to test humidity levels and adjust accordingly.

Clogged nostrils also happen if the animal has gotten a piece of their tank’s substrate lodged up their nose.

When a snake likes to root around or dig, this does happen.

If this happens frequently, you might think about finding a different kind of substrate or even switching to using newspapers, paper towels, or something similar.

The third and most profound reason your boa constrictor’s nostrils may be clogged is if they have some respiratory infection or other illness.

Respiratory illnesses, will cause a crusty or mucous build up in your boa constrictor’s nostril and make breathing hard for them.

If this is what you are seeing, your snake is also likely making wheezing or squeaking type noises; another indication breathing is not coming easy.

The infection might be bacterial, fungal, or viral and is often caused when the temperatures dip too low in the tank, or your snake may have gotten a chill.

Besides a respiratory infection, the mucous might be caused by a parasite in your pet snake’s lungs.

There are a few other diseases your boa might have causing the clog in their nostril, but a veterinarian will give you a complete answer.

What To Do If Your Boa Constrictor Has A Clogged Nostril

If your boa has a clogged nostril, it will be up to you to help alleviate the issue.

You must first identify what is clogging the nostril.

A bit of their shed skin stuck up the nostril is easily identified, and the remedy is relatively easy.

Let your boa soak in your bathtub or a large plastic storage tub to help loosen the skin.

You will need to fill the tub with tepid water, between 80° and 85° degrees Fahrenheit (27° – 29° C), making sure the water level is not too high.

Boas can drown if the water level is too high.

You will also need to be supervising them while in the tub or storage bin, so you are ready to step in if something starts to go wrong.

A soak session should last between 15 and 30 minutes at a time.

Once they are finished, gently lift your boa out of the water, and dry them off with a soft and gentle towel.

Sometimes, just water won’t do the trick, and you might need to add a few drops of non-scented gentle dish soap to help loosen their skin.

As another precaution, never use chlorinated water when bathing your snake as it often irritates their skin.

Another approach is to take a cotton swab dipped in water and use it to soften the skin gently.

This is a similar idea to a soak, just a more direct approach.

We highly recommend trying a soak in the tub first because your boa is likely not to appreciate working with the cotton swab.

The tub will be less invasive and keep them much calmer.

If you don’t identify stuck skin as the blockage in their nostril, but instead see a mucous or foamy discharge, it is more serious.

This is often a sign of a bacterial, fungal, or viral respiratory infection, but it could also point to lung mites, lungworms, abscess, cancer, or heart failure.

These are serious problems, and you need to contact a reputable veterinarian who specializes in reptiles immediately.

They will be able to diagnose the issue and provide medications to get your boa back in good health.

If you notice something else blocking your boa’s nostrils, or if a skin shed is stubborn, don’t be afraid to contact your vet or local herpetological society for more information.

Don’t open the nostril and dig around in there to remove the blockage, because you could do some real damage to your pet by trying to solve it on your own.

The vet will be your best option when it comes to removing something from their nostril.


Clogging in the nose of a boa constrictor happens to even the best owners, but it is something you need to watch for and deal with as soon as you see it.

Whether it is dead skin remaining after a shed or something more serious, like a respiratory infection, your boa will need some assistance in clearing up the problem.

After reading this article, we hope you have a better understanding of what it means when your boa constrictor has a clogged nostril.

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