Snake Sneeze(7 interesting facts)

The topic of snake sneeze is covered in two aspects. One is the pure reptilian aspect and the other is the cartoon aspect of snake sneeze. 

The first part includes the respiratory infections of different snakes. The second part is cartoons and cartoon books written by different authors.

Snake respiratory infection

Respiratory infection is a common problem in snakes which causes snake sneeze. Most of the respiratory infection is caused by bacteria or a virus or fungi. Respiratory infection occurs in conjunction with another disease like stomatitis.

Common clinical signs of respiratory infection are as follows:

1-Nasal discharge



4-Loss of appetite

5-Excess mucus in their mouth

6-Open mouth breathing

7-Gargling sound

The veterinarian will suggest a culture of oral and nasal discharge, X-Ray, and blood tests to diagnose the cause of respiratory infection.

Treatment includes oral and injectable antibiotics or eye and nasal drops.

One of the respiratory diseases of snakes is “Pneumonia”

Causes of Pneumonia



3-Suboptimal temperature


5-Poor husbandry practices

Clinical signs in Pneumonia

1-Discharge from mouth and nose

2-Clicking/bubbling sound during expiration

3-Open mouth breathing

4-Snake sneeze


1-Use of aminoglycosides and beta-lactam antibiotics. In the case of anaerobes use metronidazole.

2-Rehydrate your reptile friend with isotonic fluids.

3-In case of renal disease Vitamin C production is deficient in reptiles. Oral or injectable vitamin C would be beneficial in case of renal disease.

4-Eliminate the primary cause, it may be dust or a strong smell of ammonia. There could be more than one cause of disease.

5-There is an absence of a diaphragm in the snake, so a snake can’t expel mucus out of the respiratory tract. Tracheal washing would be beneficial in this case. Anaesthetized the snake with Isoflurane, pass lukewarm sterile saline through the respiratory tract, and recover it by holding the snake upside down.

6-Remove the animal from where he is living during treatment. Check for humidity and temperature there.

7-Nebulaization proves healthy to provide moisture and increase mucociliary activity. Do not use atropine, it will thicken the secretion and they are difficult to expel.

Do snakes sneeze?

Can a snake sneeze? This is the question often asked by snake owners. The answer to this question is “No” snakes don’t sneeze, whether they are corn snake, reticulated python, or ball python


The major reason why a snake can’t sneeze is: Snakes do not have a diaphragm. The sneezing sound you hear is hissing.


There are several reasons why snakes make this hissing sound. These reasons are as follows:

1-He may have a respiratory infection. Snakes are delicate creatures when it comes to their respiratory systems. They can’t even bear dust.

2-There may be dust in his respiratory tract which he is trying to expel.

3-The snake may be trying to shed his skin inside the nostrils.

4-The snake may be passing gas or secretion. When he makes such kinds of sounds check his anus you will probably find excretion around that area.

5-Airborne irritants could be a cause.

6-Too low temperature, humidity, and dirty environment cause snake sneeze.

7-There may be mucus or any debris/foreign object inside nostrils.

Never ignore that hissing sound, because it can prove deadly to your reptile friend. Seek veterinarian help.

Do snakes cough?

The technical answer to this question is no snake do not cough. The reason is that they lack a diaphragm. Like that of snake sneeze, snake cough is also a myth.

As the fluid-filled in the lungs like water or pus, they are unable to expel it. Accumulation of fluid causes difficulty in breathing. 

Snakes change their posture by holding their neck and head upward and try to breathe with an open mouth. It may look like a snake is coughing.

If you see your pet snake in such a condition, it may be due to respiratory infection. Open mouth breathing may be due to gastrointestinal infection and severe pain in the body. Look for such signs as being a snake owner.

One of the reasons for the open mouth is the excretion of gases. Snakes have the habit of opening their mouth twice or thrice after taking the meal. This is their natural behaviour. Some snake owners reported that.

Ball python respiratory infection

How do you know that your ball-python has a respiratory infection? This is the question that every snake owner is looking for.

Common clinical signs of respiratory infection are:

1-Rattling/whistling/clicking sound during breathing

2-Bubbly/stringy saliva

3-Loss of appetite


There are a variety of pathogens that cause respiratory infections in ball-python:


  • Salmonella spp
  • Fusobacterium
  • Proteus spp
  • Pseudomonas
  • Aeromonas


  • Inclusion body disease
  • Ophidian paramyxovirus


  • Hookworm(Kalicephalus spp)
  • Lungworm(Rhabdias)

Noninfectious respiratory diseases

  • Neoplasia
  • Metastatic disease
  • Cartilaginous granulomas

Incomplete shedding could be a reason for snake sneeze. Most snake owners do not know much about ball-python shedding, its diet, its nature, and breeding.

A study was conducted on the respiratory disease of the ball python.

In this study, three ball-python snakes were infected with Ball-python nidovirus(BPNV) and after the incubation period clinical signs appear are as follows:

1-Open mouth breathing


3-Oral mucosal reddening

4-Abundant mucus secretions 

Histological findings include Chronic active mucinous rhinitis, esophagitis, tracheitis, and stomatitis.

This study establishes a causal relationship between BPNV and ball python and proves to be the primary cause of respiratory infection in ball-python snakes.

Why is my snake wheezing?

Snake sneeze or snake wheeze due to upper respiratory tract infection. The cause could be bacterial, viral, and fungal.

The pathogen may be contagious and it may be the fault of another snake or another animal, which highlights the importance of strict hygienic practices.

Parasites could be a major problem in upper respiratory tract infections. Pentastomids are a type of parasite that lives in the respiratory tract of snakes.

Snake shedding could be a cause of snake wheezing. When you came to know about it, place the snake in 1-inch lukewarm water. This ensures that they are hydrated and can shed without any problem.

Any kind of stress could be a trigging factor in snake wheezing like an abrupt change in temperature and humidity.

Snakes have the habit of burrowing holes and this is the place where they got that dust and dirt in their nostrils. Look out for your snake burrowing activity, this may give you the reason for your snake sneeze or wheeze.

What does a snake sneeze sound like?

A youtube video will give you a clear understanding of why people say their snake sneeze and how it looks.

But technically speaking snakes don’t sneeze.

Snake in cartoons and cartoon books

Most of you people have read the kindle edition of “Jack the sneezing snake” a cartoon book by Jack Meyer on Amazon. The snake kept sneezing all the time, but that is not the case in real-time.

Jack perfectly used snake pictures and stickers and after reading this book, kids want a snake sneeze sticker on their shirts. You can view it from a great distance.

A very good ball-python kindle edition is written by Kevin McCurley named “Ball-python in captivity”.

A snake lake of sneezing snake is shown in “Dora the Explorer”. It appears in only two episodes of this cartoon. Snakes sneeze all the time in snake lake.


Snake sneeze is covered mainly in terms of educating the snake owners. Snake owners after reading this article will get a clear approach to managing and optimizing the captivity of their snakes.

Feel free to ask anything about snake sneeze in the comment section below.

FaQ’s: Snake sneeze

Frequently asked questions of snake sneeze are:

How do snakes get respiratory infections?

There could be many causes of respiratory infection like bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungus. Sometimes environmental irritants like dust can also cause respiratory infection.

Can a respiratory infection kill a snake?

Yes, it may kill the snake. If your corn snake sneeze, keep the temperature and humidity in the normal range and do not try to treat him by yourself.

Why can I hear my snake breathing?

You can hear sounds of breathing but in some snakes. You can hear it just before shedding when the skin is contracting and relaxing.

Why is my snake breathing so hard?

Hard breathing may be due to stress. Stress may be due to suboptimal temperature or you are handling your snake too often that increases the stress on him.

Can Ball Pythons hiss?

Some snakes have a defence of expelling air with force whenever someone tries to breach their locality. A sudden hiss sound will you hear when you try to reach him. With time he will learn that you are no longer a threat.

How far can a snake open its mouth?

Snake can open his mouth about 150 degrees which are 4 times his girth. Girth is the widest part of his body.


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