Banded water snake admitted to the wildlife hospital

February 7, 2024

A banded water snake was among the fifty two animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include an American white pelican, a magnificent frigatebird, a belted kingfisher, three marsh rabbits and a peninsula cooter.

The banded water snake was found by a Biology professor from Florida Southwestern State College conducting research at the Naples Botanical Garden; concerns for the snake’s health arose because one eye was discolored and the snake was inactive when found.

A physical exam showed the snake was dull when handled, in fair body condition, and had areas on its body covered with dead skin. It was determined the water snake’s right eye appeared cloudy because the snake was in the process of shedding and the right eye cap was still adhered to the eye.

Von Arx Hospital staff apply eye medication to a banded water snake.

Von Arx Wildlife Hospital staff administered an eye drop in the right eye and settled the snake in a reptarium with water, natural vegetation for hiding places and a source of supplemental heat in one area of the recovery enclosure.

The following morning, the snake had shed the remainder of the skin from its body, but the right eye cap was still in place. The snake continues daily treatment including an eye drop, time in a shallow warm water soak and a fish diet. The snake will require care until it sheds the eye cap.

A red rat snake was admitted last week as well.

It is unusual to have two snake patients at one time since most people openly show their dislike of snakes and many would never consider helping a snake. Our staff is always incredibly grateful when people help snakes.

Snakes are a natural form of pest control with a large portion of their diet consisting of rodents and insects. Native snakes are essential to maintaining a healthy ecosystem and deserve care just as any other animal admitted to our facility.

Joanna Fitzgerald, Director of the von arx wildlife hospital

If you encounter a snake in your yard, step away and give the snake room to escape. If you see a snake that is injured or sick and you are too afraid to help, call the wildlife hospital at 239.262.2273. We will do our best to ensure the snake receives appropriate medical care and treatment