Do Snakes Sneeze?

Yes, Snakes do sneeze, but it should not be taken lightly. As a pet owner, you should take their sneezing as a warning for a future upper respiratory infection (URI) or other severe health issues. Throughout this guide, we’ll explain:

 Yes. To explain, snakes don’t sneeze the same way mammals do. Instead, snakes rapidly exhale to remove the mucus, moisture, or other debris that’s in their mouth. 

Video of snake sneezing.

Snakes have a different diaphragm than mammals. Even though they do not have noses, they do have nostrils. Snakes only use their nostrils for breathing and smell with their tongue.  

Reasons Why Snakes Sneeze

There are a multitude of reasons why your snake is sneezing. It can be through environmental or even the quality of the snake tank they’re in. Here are some reasons why your snake is sneezing: 


Your snake will need a clean tank to thrive in. Leaving unsettled dust or debris in the tank will cause them to sneeze and have additional health problems if left unattended. 

Because of this, it’s best to provide consistent maintenance within your fish tank. In addition, you have to keep the temperature at a reasonable level. Snakes can obtain respiratory infections because the temperature is too low or because their environment is too dirty. 

Improper Diet

If your snake is sneezing, chances are you’re giving them an unbalanced diet. Snakes are carnivores, meaning that their diet consists of meat. Most snakes are eating amphibians (toads or frogs), while some eat prey such as hamsters and mice. Larger snakes eat small rabbits.

Make sure to feed your snake meat to ensure they remain healthy. Avoid giving your snakes animals such as live rodents. That’s because the live rodents can scratch or bite the snakes, which can lead to injury or death.

Do not feed your snake fish, insects, or other foods that they don’t naturally eat in the wild. Also, give your snake a feeding schedule, so they don’t overeat. Overeating will lead to obesity. Which is very dangerous to snakes as it can lead to numerous health conditions.

Snakes are fun pets to have in your household. They range from relaxed and safe to venomous and aggressive. One thing that snakes have in common is that they like to eat rodents. Overall, giving them a balanced diet is a great way to maintain their health. Make sure to ask your veterinarian if you have any further questions about your snake.

What Does a Snake Sneeze Sound Like?

Usually, a snake sneezes will sound like a light coughing or sneezing sound effect. While it may sound innocuous in nature, your snake might be suffering from respiratory or environmental issues. 

As a pet owner, you can take care of your snake by identifying the respiratory issues early. Take sneezing as a minor warning from your snake, and give it the medical attention needed to nurse it back to good health. 

Sometimes, it’s easy to confuse a snake’s sneezing with hissing. If the snake makes the noise once, chances are it’s hissing. But if you notice any changes within their behavior and bile on their mouth, they might be suffering from a respiratory infection. 

How Do Snakes Get Respiratory Infections?


Snakes receive respiratory infections due to bacteria or also due to other organisms. On occasion, environmental irritants will lead to nasal damage. Your veterinarian may recommend blood tests and X-rays.

To prevent this, take time to fully cleanse out the tank once every 2 weeks. This allows the tank to remain clean while disinfecting it from any bacteria lying underneath it. 

Snake Size

The size of your snake will determine the type of habitat it needs. For instance, larger snakes will require a larger tank to ensure that they can move around properly.  You have to think about the environment you’re preparing for your snake and how you can create a temperature that keeps them happy throughout the year.

As a rule of thumb, the larger the snake, the more food you’ll need to feed them. Smaller snakes will require smaller food, such as mice, rats, and baby rodents. Before buying a pet snake, make sure you have a tank that fits their size and gives them the food needed for them to survive. 

Dietary Changes

When should you call a vet? Like any pet, a change in your snake’s appetite is a good reason to call for veterinary assistance. 

Another sign is when your snake has a decrease in activity or any odd postures, such as open-mouth breathing or holding its head up high. Like other animals, snakes are able to withstand injuries such as burns. 

Signs of Respiratory Infection In Snakes

Being aware of your snake’s health will ensure its longevity. Here are some URI signs you’ll need to look out for:

Raspy Breathing

When looking for signs of a respiratory infection, you want to check the snake’s breathing. Place the snake close towards your ear so you can inspect their heartbeat and breathing. If their breathing sounds louder than normal, chances are it’s a sign of a URI. 

Excess Saliva

To find out if your snake is suffering from a URI, you’re going to have to inspect its mouth. First, use a pair of protective gloves and a card to place it inside their mouth. 

Next, you’ll want to open up their mouths and see if there is any extra saliva coming from the back of their mouths. If your snake does show any minor signs of a URI, you can take care of them by regulating the temperature and humidity inside the tank. 

How To Treat A Snake Respiratory Infection

Knowing what to do when things go wrong will ensure that your snake is safe. Here are some ways to treat your snake’s respiratory infection. 

Get Veterinary Care

Most reptiles have bacterial respiratory infections. Because of this, most respiratory issues will require professional veterinary treatment. When untreated, the bacteria will enter their bloodstream and become fatal for their health. 

You can give your snakes antibiotics via injection or through the mouth. Respiratory issues can be parasitic, viral, or viral. The treatment can vary based on the diagnosis. Your snake’s treatment will vary based on the diagnostic procedure. 

Depending on your snake’s condition, X-rays or a simple swab will be required. A veterinarian will be able to address additional husbandry issues that might be affecting their health. 

After their first diagnosis, the vet will give your snake antibiotics to help it recover faster. Make sure that your snake follows the vet’s dietary advice. Doing so will help it bounce back from a URI quickly.

Once your snake is recovered, you need to determine the cause of the URI. Every 3 weeks, you should give your snake a checkup to see if they have a respiratory infection. By doing this, you ensure that your snake is protected from short and long-term diseases throughout its life. 

How to Prevent a Respiratory Infection

Regulate the Temperature

Most snakes tend to live in environments within 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Snakes rely on the chemical reactions of their environment to help them move. For instance, snakes move faster in warmer environments while moving slower in cooler regions.

Because of this, you don’t want to risk overheating or freezing your snake. Anything above 95 degrees, and your snake will become unable to withstand the heat. If your snake tank is below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, then your snake will become more sluggish. 

By regulating the temperature, you’re giving your snake a safe environment to live in. Each day you should check your snake tank’s temperature to ensure that it’s in a reasonable climate for your pet. 

Read Your Snake’s Body Language

Your snake’s body language will determine if it is healthy or sick. If your snake is moving too slow, chances are you need to increase the temperature. If they are becoming overheated, lower the temperature until your snake’s body is back to normal. 

Know What to Do During An Emergency

Snakes aren’t for every pet owner, and some people that are terrified of snakes become veterinarians. 

You need to know who to call when your snake is in trouble. There are multiple areas where exotic vets are not available, and you don’t want to desperately call vets within a 50km radius AFTER your snake is sick. You’ll want to have a phone number on standby in the event of an emergency. 

Before you move to a new location with your snake, check to see if there are any exotic vets around the area. This will ensure that your snake will be treated and can increase its chances of surviving if its URI becomes severe. 

Final words

To conclude, snakes sneeze for minor situations such as removing mucus or major scenarios such as a URI. You have to take time to recognize your snake’s behavior and provide them emergency care if their sneezing gets out of hand. Protecting your snake from a URI will ensure that it lives a long and healthy life. 

Also Read

Do Snakes Eat Grasshoppers?

Can Snakes Drown?

Do Snakes Eat Lizards?

Do Snakes Eat Owls?


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