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Unfortunately two of our ribbon snakes have died with no outside marks or symptoms. Just yesterday he was normal and showed no signs of illness. They had both had clear eyes and no discoloration of the skin. The cage is clean and I had been feeding them every other day, but we have been feeding them only guppies. I hope that not giving them a variety of foods is not the cause of their deaths. Also we had not been spraying the cage for humidity because the wood chips are designed to keep moisture in the air. What should the proper humidity be? Please contact me if you know the cause to the deaths of our snakes.
                                                                            Thank you,
                                                                              B. W.


I'm sorry to hear about your loss; I used to own a ribbon snake and was fortunate to own him for a good number of years when I was young. 

However, unfortunately without a necrospy there is little I can tell you about your snake's dying but we might be able to narrow things down if you give me a little bit more of a history - be very specific. 

Mainly, right off the bat, I'd be concerned with using woodchips especially if they are cedar.  If you have other snakes, I would just use paper towels right now until we get this all taken care of.  Woodchips, for the most part, only cause problems - impactions if ingested with food, toxic secretions, etc.  Another thing on my list could be an intestinal parasite. 

Please email me back with some more information....what you are using as substrate exactly? how long have you owned them?? using dietary supplements?? are getting your fish from reliable pet shops (raises awareness of intestinal parasites)? fed anything else and what, from where?  have you used any chemicals in your house recently or could the water be contaminated with something?

The more specific you are the more we can narrow down the cause of death.  

Thank you for emailing us at  I look forward to helping you out more so we can get to the bottom of this!

Gregory J. Costanzo
Cornell University: College of Veterinary Medicine
Class of 2009


Page Last Updated: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 21:27 EST
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