Have your snake’s eyes recently become cloudy or dull in color?
Does it seem like your slithering sidekick can’t see as well as it could before?
Snakes have some distinctive traits setting them apart from other common pets like cats and dogs. We must know what is normal for our pets, which is why we ask:
Why are my snake’s eyes cloudy?
Snakes’ eyes are naturally cloudy during shedding, but they could also be a sign of retained eye caps or a more serious eye condition.
Check out the rest of the article for more details and information when cloudy eyes are a problem.
Healthy Snake Shedding
Many animal skins change size or gradually sheds in flakes, but snakeskin doesn’t ever grow.
When snakes outgrow their skin, they shed it all at once.
Younger snakes could shed every month, while older snakes won’t shed as frequently because they don’t grow.
Why Does Shedding Skin Make My Snake’s Eyes Cloudy?
Snakes don’t have moveable eyelids.
Instead, they have eye caps (also called spectacles) covering their eyes.
Eye caps are transparent parts of your snake’s outer skin layer, and they molt along with the skin during shedding.
Technically, your snake’s eyes are always closed!
Before a snake sheds, it goes through a pre-shed when its eyes become cloudy or dull.
Your snake’s vision will be reduced during this time, but this is an entirely normal and healthy process.
A snake’s eyes will often clear up just before it sheds.
How Can I Be Sure My Snake Is Pre-Shedding?
Along with cloudy eyes, you may notice some other symptoms in your snake while it is pre-shed.
The rest of its skin may become dark and dull.
It may hide, act temperamental, become easily anxious, display blindness, or refuse to eat.
If your snake has cloudy eyes and you notice some of these other qualities, don’t worry!
This is further evidence of the natural shedding process.
What Can Old Snakeskin Tell Me About My Snake’s Eyes?
Ideally, your snake’s skin should come off all in one piece.
Starting with its head, it will peel back the dead outer layer to its tail.
After your snake sheds, remove the old skin from its tank and examine it.
It should be one large piece, and there shouldn’t be holes where the eyes would be.
This means the eye caps have shed successfully – a good sign for your snake’s health and well-being.
If you do see holes instead of eye caps, search for them elsewhere in your snake’s tank.
If you don’t find them, there’s a chance your snake didn’t adequately shed.
This might mean there’s a different reason your snake’s eyes are cloudy. Keep reading to learn more!
Retained Eye Caps
If one or both of your snake’s eyes remain cloudy after it has shed, it may have retained eye caps (also called retained spectacles).
This might happen because of low-humidity conditions in your snake’s tank.
Snakes with bulging eyes, like ball pythons, are especially susceptible to old skin getting caught around their eyes.
Retained eye caps are a concern, especially if they stick around through more than one shed.
They could lead to problems like eye infections and reduced vision or blindness.
What Should I Do If My Snake Has Retained Eye Caps?
There are ways to help your snake if it has new retained eye caps.
Keep in mind you must always be gentle.
Never forcibly remove an eye cap, use potentially damaging tools like tweezers or aggressively handle your pet.
One option is to soak your snake to soften its skin.
Place it in shallow, lukewarm water for 20-60 minutes several times a day.
You must supervise it to make sure it doesn’t drown.
After a few days, the eye caps may come off on their own.
If the eye caps are being stubborn, a gentle rub with a cotton swab over the eyes may coax them away.
Some people also use a piece of clear tape, sticking it softly to the snake’s eye and then carefully peeling it off.
Not everyone is comfortable with these DIY treatments.
If you aren’t, it’s OK.
Leave your snake alone and prepare it for its next shed.
Ensure it has a hygienic home with ideal environmental conditions.
Supply a shedding box, a well-ventilated hiding area with a source of moisture like a damp paper towel or moss.
Consult your veterinarian if your snake retains eye caps through another shed, or you aren’t comfortable waiting until its next shed cycle.
Why Are My Snake’s Eyes Cloudy If It Isn’t Shedding Related?
There are some rarer causes of cloudy snake eyes.
If you’ve eliminated the possibility of normal shedding and retained eye caps, there may be a more severe problem.
You should make an appointment with your veterinarian, who may investigate potential health issues such as eye infections, cornea scratches, or Vitamin A deficiencies.
How Can I Prevent Health Issues in My Snake?
Does your snake have cloudy eyes for reasons other than a normal shedding cycle?
If so, re-examine its living situation and make sure you’re taking care of the basics for your pet:
- Clean the tank and keep it safe
- Clean the water bowl frequently and provide an ample water supply
- Maintain 50%-70% humidity in the tank
- Feed your snake correctly (ask your veterinarian if you have questions about this)
- Mist your snake with water frequently, especially if it’s a tropical snake.
Your pet’s particular requirements will vary depending on the variety of snake it is.
If you have any questions, your veterinarian is always a useful resource.
Remember, the reason why your snake’s eyes are cloudy is most likely because of the healthy and natural skin-shedding cycle all snakes experience.
When a snake does have retained eye caps, it requires additional care like soaking, adjusting environmental conditions, or consulting a veterinarian.
A significant key to your snake’s well-being is making sure it sheds smoothly and completely.
Rest assured, your snake is healthy and happy when it can easily reach its comfortable, new, and shiny skin!