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Jake, 20 y/o female corn snake
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Hi, my corn snake is about 20 years old. She has always been healthy and I just noticed this thing with her tail about a week or so ago. She seems normal and moves about her aquarium as usual.

I took her to a serpentarium a few days ago and they confirmed that new scales are forming and she looks otherwise healthy.

I have called veterinarians and its going to be late next week or the following before I can schedule an appointment and also get time off from where I work to take her.

I am not able to determine if perhaps a mouse chewed on her to cause this. There is zero chance that she could have been injured any other way. There is no way that the tail was ever crushed or stepped on.

I was 7 when I purchased and named this snakelet and the serpentarium where I purchased her (long out of business) sold us pinkies and later as she got bigger, live adult mice. Years later, I tried to get her to eat thawed frozen mice but she basically ignored them and they rotted. Any help/advice will be greatly appreciated.

Link to images of Jake's tail

Terrestrial animal Insect Soil Fashion accessory Metal


Insect Arthropod Caterpillar Terrestrial animal Worm


Insect Terrestrial animal Wood Fashion accessory Metal


Brown Insect Wood Worm Earthworm
 

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That looks awful.

The necrotic section will drop off sooner or later, so your corn will have a stumpy end, assuming it doesn’t get infected or cause further complications. When it does drop off, there may be exposed living tissue which you’ll need to keep clean.

Many animals, including snakes are successful in not revealing pain and discomfort they may be experiencing, so any tell tales may be very nuanced, or not even detectable. Don’t assume a moving snake means it is happy and comfortable.

If it’s been weeks, and going to take more weeks to arrange a vet appointment, I would be concerned about the discomfort your 20 year corn has already experienced, and the potential for delays causing further complications.
Do what you can within your means.

There are techniques to weening a snake from live to frozen thawed. We don’t generally feed live in the UK. There poses a risk to both prey and predator, especially if left unattended.
 

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Definitelly take her to the vets. At the very least, it will need antibiotics - not just because it has a dead and dying tissue within the tail, which in itself can cause blood poisoning- but also because you can't be sure what has caused the tail to die in the first place, so there could still be an underlying infection going on. Plus, being 20, she's no spring chicken, so her own immunity might not be as good fighting any possible infection.

Good luck with her, fingers crossed.
 
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That needs a vet.
The infection and necrosis will continue to spread.
Snakes do not drop their tails, nor will the infection stay where it is.
The liklihood is that it will require amputation.
The only time a necrotic end of a snake tail drops off is where there is retained skin following a bad shed. That's not the case here.
 

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What ian said - plus also this: if the vets need to amputate, they will have to cut some way above the infection, to make sure they leave only healthy tissue.

If the infection spreads above the vent, there will be no way of saving her, so please, book her in with the vets.
 
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Oooo, that looks nasty. As others have said, you need to get her to a vet as soon as possible. The dead area will need removing up to the point where the vet finds healthy tissue, then closing over. Antibiotics will also be needed.

Each day without treatment will allow the necrosis to spread and it can happen fast. You can already see colour changes further up and waiting much longer means you'll loose her.

At 20yrs old, you'll need to think if it maybe better to let her be put to sleep, especially if the vet feels she's just going to suffer from the needed surgery and the chances of her recovery are not great.
 

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Thank you for the thoughtful replies. The earliest I can get her in to a vet that is knowledgable of reptiles is next week.
You might want to push a little harder. A week is a long time when necrosis is set in. Your case needs to be seen as an emergency, rather than a routine appointment. Have you sent them the photos? If not, I suggest you do.
 
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