Can Snakes Have Seizures?

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This is a question that we get asked a lot here at the Snake Pit and it’s a good one! After all snakes are such strange and mysterious creatures who knows what they’re capable of?

It turns out that snakes can in fact have seizures although it is relatively rare. There are a number of different factors that can contribute to a seizure in a snake including injury infection stress and toxins.

If you think your snake is having a seizure it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Seizures can be dangerous and even life-threatening so it is best to err on the side of caution.

In the meantime here is everything you need to know about seizures in snakes including what causes them how to recognize the signs and what to do if your snake has one.

What Causes Seizures In Snakes?

There are a number of different factors that can contribute to a seizure in a snake. These include:

  • Injury: A head injury is the most common cause of seizures in snakes. This can happen if the snake is dropped or if it hits its head on something hard.
  • Infection: Seizures can also be caused by infection especially if the infection is in the brain. This is more common in younger snakes as their immune systems are not yet fully developed.
  • Stress: Seizures can be brought on by stress which is why it is important to try to reduce the stress in your snake’s life. Ways to do this include providing a hiding place maintaining a consistent temperature and avoiding handling the snake too much.
  • Toxins: Finally toxins can also cause seizures in snakes. This can happen if the snake is exposed to chemicals or if it ingests something that is poisonous.

How To Recognize The Signs Of A Seizure

Seizures can be difficult to recognize as they can vary greatly in terms of severity and duration. However there are some common signs to look out for which include:

  • Body twitching: This is often the first sign of a seizure and it can be subtle. You may notice the snake’s body twitching or jerking or its muscles may appear to be contracting and relaxing involuntarily.
  • Loss of consciousness: During a seizure the snake may lose consciousness and become unresponsive.
  • Breathing problems: Seizures can cause the snake to stop breathing or to breathe irregularly.
  • Muscle rigidity: The snake’s muscles may become rigid and it may curl up into a tight ball.
  • Clonic seizures: These are the most common type of seizure and they involve the snake’s body jerking and twitching rhythmically.
  • Tonic seizures: These are less common but they can be more severe. They involve the snake’s body becoming stiff and rigid and the snake may fall over.

What To Do If Your Snake Has A Seizure

If you think your snake is having a seizure it is important to seek veterinary care immediately. Seizures can be dangerous and even life-threatening so it is best to err on the side of caution.

In the meantime there are a few things you can do to help your snake:

  • Remove any potential hazards: This includes anything that could hurt the snake if it falls or thrashes around such as sharp objects or hot surfaces.
  • Keep the snake warm: You can do this by wrapping it in a towel or placing it in a warm safe place.
  • Don’t try to restrain the snake: It is important to let the snake move freely during a seizure as this can help to prevent injury.
  • Once the seizure has passed it is important to watch the snake closely for any signs of fatigue or illness and to seek veterinary care if necessary.