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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Apologies if I'm on the wrong forum, I'm new to this site. I recently adopted my brother's Nelson Milksnake after he could no longer care for them in college. He is albino and pretty small, maybe around 1 foot in total length and no wider than my index finger. I've had him for a few months and he seemed to be happy, but I wanted to get some advice on some stuff that concerns me (and if I'm overreacting):

My biggest concern is the amount of times he seems to shed, which really feels like every couple weeks. When I got him, it was around every couple months, but has now gotten very frequent and I'm not sure if this is a sign of him being sick. His sheds are usually fine, but he's had one or two where I've needed to soak him or add a damp washcloth in his tank to help him. I also have a moss cave that I keep very wet that he likes to hide in during this process. Is he shedding too much?

I also wanted to see how I was doing with my temp/humidity levels. I read a care sheet and I keep his tank between 40-60% humid, and around 86°F on the hot side and 77-80°F on the cool side. He seems to like that as he does bask/hang under the heat lamp, instead of always hiding in the cold all the time. Is this a good setup? Or should I make some adjustments? I have a digital thermostat with a probe on the warm side, a digital thermometer/humidity gauge, as well as two analog ones on the cool side that my brother gave me.

I feed him pre-dead pinky mice since he's too small to have anything larger, and I add a bit of reptile calcium that I use for my Leopard Gecko's mealworms. He eats no problem, and even eats during shedding stages without any issues. Is this normal? I want to make sure it's okay that he eats during shedding.

I don't really ever see him drink water, but he doesn't seem to be dehydrated, as in his body looks fine with no emmaciated skin. I have a water bowl closer to the cool side, and I keep it clean with reptisafe. Is it normal for snakes to sneaky drink water?

Another question is more socially related, as I wanted to know if these kinds of snakes are not very keen on coming out and interacting with people. He never really wants to come out, and gets very freaked out when touched, even when I take him out for feeding. Is this normal? I don't mind him being introverted, I just want to make sure he's okay with me. He burrows and makes tunnels a lot too, so I hope he's a happy little snake.

Finally, my biggest concern again is his shedding cycles, which seem very frequent as of late. As I'm typing this, it actually looks like he's starting again, and he finished his last shed not even a month ago. I hope he's not unhealthy, I'm just not that experienced and my brother sort of threw him on me. That's not to say I don't love the little guy, he actually makes me very happy to watch and take care of, but I want to ask you all for tips and advice because I am not that experienced with snakes.

I'm so sorry if this thread is long as heck, feel free to answer one or two question instead of all of them. I appreciate any help or feedback. I added a pic of his tank setup if there's anything wrong with it. :)
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Hello all,

Apologies if I'm on the wrong forum, I'm new to this site. I recently adopted my brother's Nelson Milksnake after he could no longer care for them in college. He is albino and pretty small, maybe around 1 foot in total length and no wider than my index finger. I've had him for a few months and he seemed to be happy, but I wanted to get some advice on some stuff that concerns me (and if I'm overreacting):

My biggest concern is the amount of times he seems to shed, which really feels like every couple weeks. When I got him, it was around every couple months, but has now gotten very frequent and I'm not sure if this is a sign of him being sick. His sheds are usually fine, but he's had one or two where I've needed to soak him or add a damp washcloth in his tank to help him. I also have a moss cave that I keep very wet that he likes to hide in during this process. Is he shedding too much?

I also wanted to see how I was doing with my temp/humidity levels. I read a care sheet and I keep his tank between 40-60% humid, and around 86°F on the hot side and 77-80°F on the cool side. He seems to like that as he does bask/hang under the heat lamp, instead of always hiding in the cold all the time. Is this a good setup? Or should I make some adjustments? I have a digital thermostat with a probe on the warm side, a digital thermometer/humidity gauge, as well as two analog ones on the cool side that my brother gave me.

I feed him pre-dead pinky mice since he's too small to have anything larger, and I add a bit of reptile calcium that I use for my Leopard Gecko's mealworms. He eats no problem, and even eats during shedding stages without any issues. Is this normal? I want to make sure it's okay that he eats during shedding.

I don't really ever see him drink water, but he doesn't seem to be dehydrated, as in his body looks fine with no emmaciated skin. I have a water bowl closer to the cool side, and I keep it clean with reptisafe. Is it normal for snakes to sneaky drink water?

Another question is more socially related, as I wanted to know if these kinds of snakes are not very keen on coming out and interacting with people. He never really wants to come out, and gets very freaked out when touched, even when I take him out for feeding. Is this normal? I don't mind him being introverted, I just want to make sure he's okay with me. He burrows and makes tunnels a lot too, so I hope he's a happy little snake.

Finally, my biggest concern again is his shedding cycles, which seem very frequent as of late. As I'm typing this, it actually looks like he's starting again, and he finished his last shed not even a month ago. I hope he's not unhealthy, I'm just not that experienced and my brother sort of threw him on me. That's not to say I don't love the little guy, he actually makes me very happy to watch and take care of, but I want to ask you all for tips and advice because I am not that experienced with snakes.

I'm so sorry if this thread is long as heck, feel free to answer one or two question instead of all of them. I appreciate any help or feedback. I added a pic of his tank setup if there's anything wrong with it. :) View attachment 353329 View attachment 353330 View attachment 353331
Sounds perfectly ok to me. I kept a pair of them myself.
 

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Increase the food though.
It will never grow if its only fed pinkies.
Start offering two meals a week, then use two pinkies per meal, twice a week. Then increase the food to fuzzies and so on.
 

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Yes, feed more.

Don't worry about humidity. Temp sounds fine.

Re. shedding, check for snake mites.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Increase the food though.
It will never grow if its only fed pinkies.
Start offering two meals a week, then use two pinkies per meal, twice a week. Then increase the food to fuzzies and so on.
How do I feed him bigger food? He's so small as is, I didn't think he could handle anything larger than pinky mice. Is it okay to feed him food that is larger than his body thickness?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yes, feed more.

Don't worry about humidity. Temp sounds fine.

Re. shedding, check for snake mites.
Is there a way to check for mites/signs of them? When he's not shedding he seems normal and is nice and bright in color, he also eats like a champ. Should I ask a vet if I can find one?
 

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How do I feed him bigger food? He's so small as is, I didn't think he could handle anything larger than pinky mice. Is it okay to feed him food that is larger than his body thickness?
Yes, it's quite OK to feed slightly larger food. It will never grow if sustained on a diet of pinkies.
Start offering a pink twice a week for 6 weeks.
Then offer a fuzzy a week for 6 weeks, followed by 2 fuzzies a week for 6 weeks and so on.
 

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Is there a way to check for mites/signs of them? When he's not shedding he seems normal and is nice and bright in color, he also eats like a champ. Should I ask a vet if I can find one?
They look like black, brown or maroon pinhead sized raised spots on the snake, mainly on the front half & slowly crawling around. You'll also see dead ones floating around in the water dish. Another clue can be excessive bathing in the water dish, but a lot of snakes do that anyway on hot days.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They look like black, brown or maroon pinhead sized raised spots on the snake, mainly on the front half & slowly crawling around. You'll also see dead ones floating around in the water dish. Another clue can be excessive bathing in the water dish, but a lot of snakes do that anyway on hot days.
Ok, thanks for the tidbit. I checked him last night and he doesn't seem to have any, and I didn't see any in the water bowl. I cleaned it out anyway like I normally do, so maybe I just need to feed him more is the case. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, it's quite OK to feed slightly larger food. It will never grow if sustained on a diet of pinkies.
Start offering a pink twice a week for 6 weeks.
Then offer a fuzzy a week for 6 weeks, followed by 2 fuzzies a week for 6 weeks and so on.
Ok, thanks! I was told that I shouldn't feed him anything larger than his body width, so I thought he wouldn't get much bigger. I looked it up (I know I'm a genius for using google) and I've seen that they can get pretty darn large. I'll definitely feed him more, I appreciate it!
 

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Ok, thanks! I was told that I shouldn't feed him anything larger than his body width, so I thought he wouldn't get much bigger. I looked it up (I know I'm a genius for using google) and I've seen that they can get pretty darn large. I'll definitely feed him more, I appreciate it!
That's very out dated advice. Snakes don't carefully measure up prey in the wild and compare to themselves! They can take fairly large prey compared to the body size.
 

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Ok, thanks! I was told that I shouldn't feed him anything larger than his body width, so I thought he wouldn't get much bigger. I looked it up (I know I'm a genius for using google) and I've seen that they can get pretty darn large. I'll definitely feed him more, I appreciate it!
Average size for an adult Nelson is about 3 feet.
 
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