Scale rot is what every snake and reptile enthusiast does not want to hear, not only can this be uncomfortable for the snake and if left untreated dangerous.

But this bacterial infection seems to be more common among the pet snakes and lizards we get.

The reasoning behind this scale rot is moisture in the air and too much of it allow the bacteria to form and a type of mould to get under and around the scales of a reptile.

This can also be caused due to poor husbandry, not keeping their enclosure clean enough to prevent any serious bacteria forming.

Scale rot is a form of dermatitis, this is in basic terms a type of blister infection in a snake which promotes bacteria and fungus to grow on the snake’s skin.

If you are not too sure if it is scale or if it’s a potential burn, do not treat your pet reptile until it is clear. If you are unsure always consult with your local veterinary for confirmation.

Is Scale Rot Dangerous to Snakes/Reptiles

Yes, given enough time untreated scale rot can cause your pet snake to die.

This is when the scale rot and bacteria reach the bloodstream which causes septicaemia which is fatal.

Now if treated early enough and all the causes of the scale rot are countered, there is no reason your pet snake or lizard can’t make a full recovery.

We just need to be extra careful and take the next following steps.

If you have been dealing with scale rot for over 2 weeks and it is getting worse, do not take-home step.

Your pet snake must be taken straight to a vet to get antibiotics as this will be the only thing that will help.

How To Cure Scale Rot

If you have caught the scale rot in its early stages, doing all these steps will give you the best chances of the scale rot from spreading out of control.

As we brushed over it is the overall hygiene of the caging needs to be addressed first and doing getting this bob on will really increase the chances of recovery.

How To Spot Scale Rot

It is very hard to tell if your snake or lizard has scale rot. Scale rot typically looks like a burn and well could be if misidentified.

Bliserting of the scales 

You could notice that the skin becomes blistered in a small area and have a yellow-white look, it will look like pus under the skin.

This is a bacterial infection, so blisters are a the first or most popular indication that your pet has potential got scale rot starting.

Burn Like Colors 

This is why and where it gets tricky to check if it is scale rot or a burn. In patches you will notice that the skin will have a brownish discolouration.

This can be difficult to see on darker colours snakes or lizards but is often found on the underbelly of the reptile.

Also ensure that the snake is not going through a shedding cycle as this could be signs of old skin that has something underneath it.


Continue to monitor the caging cleanliness for the next few weeks and then if the issues persist, then consult your local veterinary for further guidance and antibiotics.


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