Helping Your Reptile Shed

One thing you often hear of as a benefit to having reptiles is the fact that they don’t shed. However, this isn’t exactly true. They do shed: they just do it without leaving fur everywhere. Unfortunately, sheds don’t always go smoothly. In fact, shedding trouble can leave your little dinosaur at risk of some very health issues. In this article, a Lexington, KY vet offers some advice on things you can do to help your little buddy shed properly.

Basic Care

Healthy reptiles usually have less trouble shedding than sick or malnourished ones. Make sure your reptilian pal has a suitable habitat, with the proper environmental conditions; a proper diet; and fresh water. It’s also important to have an idea of when your little (or not so little) buddy can be expected to shed. This varies between different types of snakes and lizards. Ask your vet for specific care advice.

Offer Rough Surface

As anyone who has ever had a sunburn can attest to, peeling skin can get pretty itchy. Offer your reptilian pal something rough to rub up against. These exfoliators don’t need to be pricey: you can use things like reptile rocks, branches, vines, or logs.

Offer Proper Humidity

Humidity levels are extra important during sheds. In fact, insufficient humidity is one of the most common causes of shedding issues. You may need to keep conditions more humid than usual as your scaled pal changes their wardrobe. Ask your vet for more information. 


A good hide is a must. Most reptiles will benefit from having a second hide that is more humid, in addition to their usual ‘house’ hide. Adding things like sphagnum moss can help keep it moist.


Hydration can also help loosen dead skin. Your reptile may enjoy a lukewarm bath in shallow water. Another option is to spray them down with water.


If your reptile is having difficulty, contact your vet. You may be advised to try shedding aids, which are commercial products made just for reptiles. You may be tempted to help a bit. However, you’ll need to be very careful, as you could hurt your scaled pal by pulling off skin that isn’t ready. We’d recommend playing it safe and bringing your reptile in, especially if you’re new to keeping reptiles.

Do you have questions about reptile care? Contact us, your Lexington, KY animal clinic, anytime!


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