Snake Poop 101: Everything You NEED to Know & When to Seek Help

No matter if you take care of a puppy, an aquarium full of fish, or a snake, one thing will always be a part of life with whatever species you own: poop.

Reptile poop and snake poop, in particular, can be especially intriguing due to the significant differences in terms of frequency, appearance, and consistency when compared to the excretions of mammals.

Whether you’re just trying to be a responsible snake owner and make sure your pet’s poo is up to par, or you are legitimately worried that there is something medically wrong with your beloved serpent, keep reading to learn all the ins and outs of snake poop!

Understanding the Basics: How Snakes Poop

The process starts the same for pretty much any animal on the planet…

Animal gets hungry; the animal eats its preferred source of food, the food passes through the animal’s digestive tract, nutrients are absorbed, then the processed remnants of the food are excreted by the animal.

In terms of actually excreting the leftovers, snake anatomy and reptile anatomy, in general, differ a little bit from the familiar mammalian body…

Usually, poop comes from an anus, more commonly known as a butt. On the flip side, pee comes from the urethra, which is generally located within or near the reproductive organs.

Snakes, however, have an orifice known as a cloaca or vent. This opening serves many purposes: it’s used for reproduction and elimination of poop and the reptilian equivalent of urine (pee).

How Often Do Snakes Poop?

how often do snakes poop
You know what they say… the bigger the mouse the less frequent the poop! Okay, maybe they don’t say that but they should! You see, your snake won’t have a bowel movement until it’s meal has been 100% digested. So, expect to wait longer for a bowel movement when your slithering serpent has just feasted to their cold blooded heart’s content.

Unlike with some mammals and most birds, a snake will ONLY poop when its entire meal has been digested and is ready to be excreted.

Instead of multiple small deposits, they typically have one large deposit as a result of each meal that they eat.

Depending on the size of the meal and the temperature of the environment, this may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Reptiles digest their food faster in higher temperatures.

So, how often a snake should poop comes down to how often you are feeding it. If you’re feeding your snake every five days, you can typically expect it to poop every five days. If you are feeding it every month, it should be pooping every month.

If your snake is pooping multiple times between meals, this could mean that your animal is sick and has diarrhea.

When your snake goes #2, this is typically a good indicator that they are ready for their next meal. They may even start actively hunting again.

Of course, if your pet is prone to packing on the pounds, you may want to let it wait a little longer. Active hunting can be a GREAT source of mental stimulation and exercise for your snake.

If it’s time for your slithery friend’s next meal, but they have not yet pooped, you may want to hold off for a few days.

Observe your snake. Do they seem comfortable? Are they in hunting mode, or are they moving around to attempt to facilitate the depository process? Are they resting on the warm side of their enclosure, or the cold side?

Look out for other signs of constipation or what is referred to as “impaction”.

Impaction is essentially when a snake’s or (other reptile’s like a bearded dragon) digestive system is unable to pass a bowel movement due to being backed up.

And unlike normal constipation, this issue doesn’t just go away with a little time

In these cases, the snake may regurgitate its new meal, which can be a slippery slope of continuing regurgitation, even after the animal can poop.

If your snake IS basking in their warm spot, they are likely still digesting their last meal.

If they are resting in their water bowl, they may be trying to help themselves pass the stool.

If they are hanging out on the cool side but not moving around more, they may not be feeling well, or their winter instincts may be kicking in.

What Does Normal & Healthy Snake Poop Look Like?

Normal, healthy snake poop usually consists of between two and five distinct parts.

When determining whether your snake’s poop is healthy and normal, look for the following components:

  • Brown or black semi-formed logs of feces (always)
  • A chalky white part, known as the urates (always)
  • A small amount of mucous (sometimes)
  • Liquid urine (sometimes)
  • Leftover fur, feathers, bones, teeth, and nails from your pet’s prey (sometimes)

Generally speaking, if you are familiar with how your snake’s poop typically looks and you suddenly notice a drastic change in any of the above features… you should collect the droppings and take them to your exotic animal veterinarian within twenty-four hours for parasite and disease testing.

Sometimes the urates may be more yellow, orange, or even green or blue. If this is normal for the species you own, or normal for your pet, this is no cause for concern.

However, if this is a sudden change, you should ask your veterinarian to perform a fecal evaluation.

Abnormal Snake Poop Colors

The term “abnormal” can be taken with a grain of salt in this instance since reptile feces can be so variable.

If you’ve had your animal for years, they behave normally, a veterinarian has already declared them to be healthy, and they’ve always had droppings of any color of the rainbow, you can safely assume that they’re alright.

However, if you notice a sudden or even gradual change to any of these colors, something might be amiss.

Please consider the following colors below (and their possible causes)abnormal if they are out of the norm for your pet.

Green Snake Poop

Green urates (the chalky portion of the droppings) can be healthy. However, green feces can also indicate an internal infection.

It’s also believed to occur if your snake is fasting, and living off of their fat reserves.

Yellow Snake Poop

It is common to see yellow in your snake’s droppings…

Their urates tend to range from white to yellow, and sometimes they can mix with the feces and make the feces appear yellow.

Now, if you are confident that your snake’s feces, and not just the urates, are yellow, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Red Snake Poop

Red is probably the most alarming color you can see in your snake’s droppings. Usually, this indicates blood.

However, it is unlikely to be blood from your pet’s food – rodent blood is typically digested completely and turns more of a maroon or even black color.

Bright red hints towards fresh blood in your snake’s lower digestive tract, and means you should seek veterinary care for your pet as soon as possible.

White Snake Poop

White urates are very, very typical. As such, you will need to confirm whether the white you are seeing is from your snake’s urates or feces…

If the feces is not fresh, it can turn white. On the other hand, fresh white feces can also be completely healthy, mainly if your snake has recently digested an animal with a high bone-to-meat ratio.

If your snake is displaying any other troubling symptoms, like lack of appetite, lethargy, or weight loss, in addition to white feces, it is time to see the veterinarian.

Snake Poop or Regurgitation? Here’s How to Tell the Difference…

Regurgitation in snakes is relatively common. Sometimes it happens due to husbandry mistakes, such as handling the animal too soon after it eats, too large of a food item, or low temperatures.

Other times, if everything is right in the husbandry department, it is because of illness or parasites.

Either way, regurgitation indicates that changes of some sort need to be made.

Of course, if you witness your snake’s excretions come up the front end, it’s pretty straightforward to say that it’s not poop.

But what if you find a slimy mess in your pet’s cage that doesn’t quite resemble a poop, but it doesn’t resemble a fully-formed rodent, either?

Try to look for these signs:

  • Time since their last meal. If it has been 48 hours, or less, since your snake ate, it is probably a regurgitated meal. They likely haven’t had enough time to digest their meal and turn it into feces.
  • They regurgitated their last meal. A snake that regurgitated its last meal is much, much more likely to regurgitate its next meal.
  • There’s an abnormal amount of mucous. If the log is completely coated in mucous, it is either regurgitation or the feces of an ill animal. Both scenarios require further investigation and a possible veterinary visit.
  • The urates are powdery and/or chalky. Urates can only come out of the back end. That’s poop, my friend.

Snake Not Pooping? Reasons Why & What To Do…

snake impaction
Here you can see an example of what impaction looks like within a snake. This X-ray clearly demonstrated just how large these masses can become and why a surgical removal is sometimes the only option. Source.

Sometimes, this can be normal. Not every snake poops after every meal.

While this is the general rule, there is an extensive range of normal depending on the individual animal, the species, the enclosure parameters, and the prey size and type.

If your pet doesn’t look abnormal and is continuing to behave normally, you can safely assume s/he will poop soon.

However, if you are still worried or notice any other symptoms, please keep reading to find out what could be wrong and what you should do.


Just like humans and most other animals, snakes can get constipated.

This most often happens due to dehydration or low humidity. Sometimes, it also happens due to low temperatures and large meals.

Constipation is not an emergency, but it does need resolution. See below to discover some tips to help your constipated snake pass their droppings.


If constipation goes unresolved, it can often result in an impaction. An impaction in snakes is a medical emergency.

You can try some of the tips below to get things moving, but an impacted snake can become septic and die from the infection.

In severe cases, they may even need surgery to remove the impaction. An impacted snake will stop eating, and you can usually see swelling or bulge above their cloaca.

Upcoming Shed

Many snakes will withhold their poop for a few weeks before shedding. Then, they will have a substantial bowel movement right after they shed.

This is relatively normal and can become a predictable habit of your snake.

No special care or action is needed in this instance, just continue to offer water, humidity, or soaking like you usually would when your snake is in shed.

How to Help Your Snake Poop

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of why your snake isn’t passing a stool and if you should be worried. As such, it’s time to discuss several home remedies to help your snake make a bowel movement.

Please note that these should ONLY be attempted if your snake appears to be in otherwise good health.

If your pet is already acting sluggish or weak, it is time to go to the veterinarian – ASAP.

Feed Smaller Prey

If you find that your snake is experiencing constipation regularly, feeding it smaller prey items may be a way to prevent the issue in the first place.

Some snakes get constipated simply because their meal is too large to digest, or it’s so large that digestion takes too long, and the snake’s body absorbs all of the feces’ moisture.

Handle the Snake

how to help snake poop
Handling your snake is one of the best (not to mention easiest and quickest ways!) to help encourage them to havre a movement. However, this method will work best if your snake is calm and not agitated. As such, handle wisely.

This little trick can offer a little more help when the above steps AREN’T working by themselves.

Handle your snake, keep it comfortable and calm, and encourage it to move from hand to hand or climb up your arms.

The motion and muscle activity can help to stimulate the bowels. Just make sure to have a towel nearby, and don’t do this while seated on your brand new leather couch!

Soak the Food

Another way to prevent dehydration and constipation is to soak your pet’s prey items in warm water before feeding them.

Pre-killed frozen mice and rats lose some of their original water content during the thawing process, so thawing them in warm water can help to replenish a bit of that natural hydration.

Keep in mind that some snakes might be picky about eating wet food, so this may or may not work for your situation.

Soak the Snake

If your snake is already constipated or impacted, a ten to fifteen-minute soak in warm water can do wonders.

Many snakes will pass their bowel movement after a soak; it is the most popular, effective, and safest remedy.

Many snakes and other animals even have the instinct to soak in their water dish on their own if they experience difficulty passing their feces.

Offer More Water

This is another preventative measure, especially if your slithery buddy turns its nose up when you try to offer soaked prey items. It’s a pretty straightforward tactic and one most keepers practice anyways.

Make sure your snake always has fresh water available. Just because they only eat once a week, does NOT mean they only need to drink once a week.

Increase the Humidity

Make sure to research the proper humidity levels for the snake species that you own, and stick to the higher end of the appropriate range if you are experiencing elimination difficulties with your snake.

Also, if you’re on the hunt for an enclosure, you should note that plastic and wooden enclosures will hold humidity better than glass enclosures.

Lastly, you can increase the overall moisture content within the tank by keeping the water dish on the warm side. 

Change the Substrate

This step goes hand-in-hand with raising the humidity in the snake’s cage.

Some substrates, like coconut fiber and cypress mulch, help to maintain higher humidity levels much better than others, like sand and aspen shavings.

If you find that your pet is consistently constipated and you are having a hard time achieving a high enough humidity level, it might be worth the trouble of switching to a more suitable substrate.

Increase the Temperature

Again, this will require a little more research about the species of snake that you own.

It’s imperative to ensure that the hot spot in your snake’s home reaches the appropriate temperature for optimum digestion.

Low temperatures cause slow digestion; slow digestion causes constipation and impaction.

Belly Massage

This tactic can be beneficial, but also requires a gentle touch AND caution. If you press too firmly, you can undoubtedly injure your snake and cause more harm than good.

Also, I only recommend doing this AFTER your snake has had a nice warm soak. Don’t just grab them out of their tank and start rubbing!

It can be beneficial to watch videos of people giving their snakes belly massages to help relieve constipation so that you can get a general idea of where and how much pressure to apply.

Please see the video below for an idea of how to massage your snake’s belly.

Mineral Oil

This technique is commonly referred to as a “rat-lax” in the snake keeping world, and it should only be used as a last resort if you can not get your pet seen by a veterinarian, and you have already tried the other methods listed above.

If your snake is still accepting food, you can inject their regular pre-killed prey item with mineral oil at a dosage of 1 mL/kg (0.46 mL/lb or 0.03mL/oz) of your snake’s body weight.

Veterinary Treatment

If the above techniques have not helped, and your snake has lost his appetite, seems weak or lethargic, and looks visibly bloated, it is time for an emergency visit to your reptile veterinarian.

Please keep in mind that impaction will kill your snake if it goes untreated.

Your veterinarian may attempt an enema on your snake, and if that doesn’t work, he will likely need surgery to remove the impaction.

Wrapping Up Snake Poop

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of your crash course in snake poop! I hope that you now feel comfortable and confident in evaluating the appearance and frequency of your snake’s excrement.

However, above all else, please keep in mind:

  • Colorful or infrequent poops. This is most often biologically normal. It doesn’t require any action on your part unless your snake is displaying other symptoms like bloating, lethargy, and lack of appetite. Otherwise, you can usually let nature take its course.
  • Risk of Home Remedies. Some home remedies have inherent risks. Please do not attempt any of them without at least consulting with your veterinarian, and unless you are entirely confident with the technique. A visit with your veterinarian is always the preferred and safer option.

Not enough yet? Here is everything about frog poop!

20 thoughts on “Snake Poop 101: Everything You NEED to Know & When to Seek Help”

  1. Thank you for this article. My snake Squeeze has a yellow rock looking poop thing and I sent it to her vet. I feel better that I’ve looked at this article.

    • Thank you. I need so much advice. I own a ball python.. And hes already about 4 ft. And around 4 years old. Or so ive been told. He just passed his first poop with me. But i havent been able to feed him. And not even just that i spray his cage consistently almost every time i walk past it. But i just cant get it to reach 80% humidity. What do i so. I need advice. I love my boy💕 i juat want to make sure hes well cared for. Also im leaving town for a week in june. Can i just leave him woth his purple night light all week and just have some one spray the cage? Im afraid the sitter will leave the day light on all week.

      • Hi,

        Have you considered trying a hygrometer? Also, is your ball python’s tank located close to a door, heater, window, or vent? These are common culprits for tanks that don’t reach adequate humidity.

        It’s a good idea to have someone check on your snake and spray the cage regularly if you’re going to leave it for a week.

        Good luck!

        Reptile Guide team

  2. Hiya, I’ve had my ball pyhton for just over 4 weeks, and although there a small solid poops, for the large Rat Weaners she eats, these seem small? She’s only done 2 poops in these 4 weeks but is still eating although had just gone into blue. Should I do anything to help her, or wait until she has shed? Thanks!

  3. My snake just pooped, normally they have both the feces and the urates, but this one seems to only be urates. there about 6-7yo corn snake. Should I be concerned? Its the first time I’ve seen this from them.

  4. thank you for this. i was getting worried because my cornsnake has not eaten or pooped in three weeks (he usually eats two mice once a week) and im worried it might be impaction but i hope not although it does look swollen im very worried and currently crying

  5. hi I know its long but plz give me advice .My ball python has not pooped in awhile like more than a month and I’m very concerned. i soak him everyday in warm water and his enclosure matches how its suppose to be. He had a large rat i usually give him a medium and it had a really hard time getting it down. then he didn’t eat for about 4 months. Finally he did eat i gave him a small rat. i then realized i don’t think he pooped. i cleaned his cage and got a bigger one and i usually didn’t think to check his poop . But now I’m realizing he hasn’t pooped a week later i feed him another small rat. i soaked him for a little longer than a week then i took him to the vet . the vet said he looked fine and was acting fine . and i asked if i should give him something like a laxitive and he said i shouldn’t give him any extra things to stress him out and said to wait and feed him still cause it has to come out . but I’m thinking since you said that the impact can have an infection and kill him so now im even more scared but hes acting fine i just need to know what to do. i know its long but someone just plz tell me what to doooo i NEED HELP PLEASE IM DESPRATE please get back to me thanks bye

  6. my corn snake hasn’t pooped in at least a month. she seems normal and still wants to eat. should I still feed her? she never goes this long and I’m worried about her.

  7. Hi, I’m taking care of my daughters ball python, female. ( I have a male ball) She got her in August of 2020 and was assured that she was eating regularly FT med rat. She offered rat after rat but the snake would not eat. I took her in November and have offered once a week rats of varying sizes, I’ve tried warming them to different temps as well. I even tried a live mouse ( I was breeding them). I understand she could be in breeding mode so I’m not hugely worried, she doesn’t seem to be losing mass, and is not dehydrated. She’s now in her second shed since November and unfortunately, it must have started a couple days ago ( I missed the milky eyes I guess) and I usually raise the humidity when their eyes cloud. So she was dry, I took her to the sink and started to soak her to hydrate her and she started to poop, three or four hard pebbles and then shaking of had this little corkscrew-like thing stuck in her cloaca, it came free without much help. The pebble poops were quite hard, and the corkscrew thing was hard to describe, like when my Fathers toenails got too long and he trimmed them after a bath, hard but flexible and kind of off white. She seems fine, but I’m wondering if you have any insight?

    • Hi Beverly,

      One of my pythons went 8 months without eating with no ill effects. He did this two or three times during the 27 years I had him. When he would go on his fasting binges, I would make sure not to hold him too much and would continue to offer food weekly until he would finally eat.

      As far as the corkscrew thing, are you sure the snake is not a male? The males will often pass unused sperm plugs that look and feel similar to what you are describing. I hope this helps.

  8. My royal python (ball python) has been eating and drinking nicely, and when I hold her she is either chill or active. I have had Lace for about tow mouths and she’s (about) four mouths old. I love her and she is my first snak. She is my five years old dreams come true ( since I was five, I’m not a mother yet) she shed and pooped the beginning of her he second week I had her. And she hasn’t pooped or shed since. Me and my father think that this is caused because when I got her, the first mounts she dident eat, so I figure, she’s just taking the nutrients for her body.

    Please, please help me help my dream. I know this is mushy, but I need her to not die.

  9. My snake had an URI and I had to give her antibiotics.She is getting better but she pooped today and her poop had dark green mucus all on it.I was wondering if that is how they get rid of all the nasty mucus that builds up during a URI?Scared me seeing it but hoping it is a good sign along with her showing signs of getting better.I was thinking I probably should contact my vet about it.


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