Ball Python Shedding Process

The ball python shedding process consists of two parts: the impending shed stage, and the actual skin-shedding stage.

The impending shed stage, or the pre-shedding process, takes anywhere between just under a week to two or three weeks in total. During this time, your snake will exhibit both physical and behavioural changes that you should take as cues to increase the humidity of your ball python’s enclosure to around 65-75%. When your ball python is about to shed, he or she will likely lose his or her appetite. You can offer your pet a meal, but it is most likely going to refuse to eat. Ball pythons do not like to be handled when they are impending shed, and may act more aggressive than usual if you do try to pick them up. For this reason, you should do your best not to handle a ball python that is in pre-shed.

royal python blue eyes before shedding

The actual skin-shedding stage is where a ball python will rub against rough surfaces, creating friction in order to push itself out of it’s outer layer of skin. This process takes approximately one to two hours in total, and can easily be missed, as ball pythons are nocturnal, meaning this event will likely happen at night when you are asleep. After this process, humidity can be lowered back to around 50-60%, unless the ball python still has old skin somewhere on its body, in which case, humidity should be kept high, and should even be increased slightly to help the ball python get the remainder of the skin off.

royal python removing dead skin

If a ball python has had a good shed, the skin will have come off in one single piece (including the eye caps). If the snake has had a bad shed, there may be pieces of leftover skin along the ball python’s face, body, or eyes. Bad sheds occur when the humidity in the snake’s enclosure was too low during the pre-shed and shedding stages. In order to help a snake that has had a bad shed, you can try knocking the humidity up slightly and giving the ball python a bath with lukewarm water (no soap!). When rinsed for twenty minutes, then placed back in his or her enclosure for a full day, the remainder of the skin should come off on its own.


  1. netbooster says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this article
    and also the rest of the site is really good.

  2. e are new ball python owners and I am a little worried we did feed him and now he is under his rock and has been there for the last 4 days without coming out or anything should I take him to see the vet or is he good we did pull him out and his eyes are starting to milkLto look milky and I read that this is a sHeading process please help

    • Elise Xavier says:

      Sounds exactly like your ball python is shedding to me! Crank up the humidity in the enclosure and you should see your ball python’s old skin off within the next week or two.