A snake’s backbone is made up of many small bones called vertebrae.
These bones are held together by ligaments and the entire structure is encased in a layer of tough skin.
If a snake breaks its back it means that one or more of these bones has been dislocated or broken.
The most common cause of a snake breaking its back is accidental trauma.
This can happen if the snake is stepped on hit by a car or falls from a height.
In some cases the snake may be able to pop the dislocated bone back into place on its own.
However if the bone is fractured it will need to be surgically repaired.
If a snake breaks its back it will usually die.
This is because the snake’s nervous system runs the length of its body and a break in the backbone can cause paralysis.
Even if the snake is able to survive it will likely never be the same.
A snake with a broken back will usually have a deformity and it may never be able to move or eat properly again.
There are a few recorded cases of snakes surviving after breaking their backs.
In most of these cases the snake was able to receive prompt medical attention and had surgery to repair the break.
However these snakes usually have a lifelong disability as a result of their injury.
If you see a snake that you think may have broken its back it is best to leave it alone and call a professional.
Trying to help the snake yourself can often do more harm than good.