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 Post subject: Eastern kingsnake with possible fungal infection
PostPosted: May 9th, 2017, 7:01 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:27 pm
Posts: 241
I found my first eastern kingsnake the other day in the NJ pine barrens. It was a cool, windy, and overcast day, so I was surprised to see this juvenile snake out and about. Upon closer inspection I noticed the animal was covered in sores/blisters. Is fungal disease common among eastern kings? I know snakes sometimes emerge from brumation with minor skin lesions that clear up after shedding, but I'm curious if this is something more detrimental, and if so, should I report it somewhere? Thanks!


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Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula getula) by Zachary Cava, on Flickr


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Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula getula) by Zachary Cava, on Flickr


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Eastern Kingsnake (Lampropeltis getula getula) by Zachary Cava, on Flickr




http://www.zacharycava.net


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern kingsnake with possible fungal infection
PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 12:12 pm 

Joined: March 18th, 2015, 7:06 pm
Posts: 34
Looks like prolonged exposure to extreme dampness, not fungus.


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern kingsnake with possible fungal infection
PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 12:54 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:27 pm
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ackee wrote:
Looks like prolonged exposure to extreme dampness, not fungus.


Well fungi like dampness, right? So what's the actual mechanism relating to extreme dampness that causes these lesions, if not fungal?


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern kingsnake with possible fungal infection
PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 1:13 pm 

Joined: March 18th, 2015, 7:06 pm
Posts: 34
I think these are the typical 'hibernation blisters' I've seen dozens of times, not SFD. These lesions generally disappear after a shed or two in my experience. They are common on snakes that brumate in more moist conditions, like Kingsnakes and the swamp dwelling Timber Rattlesnakes found in the Jersey Pinelands. Several decades ago, when I was an active herper, I'd see what was very likely the same animals with hibernation blisters early in the season become perfectly clear a month or two later.


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern kingsnake with possible fungal infection
PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 1:31 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:27 pm
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Interesting, thanks for the info! I'm not disputing the fact that snakes often overcome such hibernation blisters, just curious what causes them. Seems plausible that SFD could manifest over a broad range in terms of severity, depending on various factors...


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern kingsnake with possible fungal infection
PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 2:23 pm 
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Joined: June 9th, 2010, 3:03 pm
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Quote:
Well fungi like dampness, right? So what's the actual mechanism relating to extreme dampness that causes these lesions, if not fungal?


I'm not making a definitive diagnosis but, blistering is a common issue in snakes. In short. Bacteria levels increase in damp situations. A snake for whatever reason (brumation for example) might hole up in a spot that's overly moist, maybe with poor ventilation for an extended period of time or have its immune system compromised to some degree. Like many common infections opportunistic bacteria are the cause. I have seen a lot of wild snakes with this type of blistering over the years.


Ernie Eison


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 Post subject: Re: Eastern kingsnake with possible fungal infection
PostPosted: May 10th, 2017, 3:34 pm 
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Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:27 pm
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Thanks Ernie. I've notified NJDFW in any case. It's worth emphasizing that it was chilly, overcast, and windy, so it seemed like an unusual time for the snake to be active on the surface, but I don't know much about the species.


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