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Why Your Snake Is Rubbing Its Face

why is my snake rubbing its face

You may find it weird to see your face rubbing its face after eating. It may also be alarming to see that your snake is rubbing its face against the glass of its enclosure. Why do they do this? Does this behavior harm the snake?

Snakes rub their face against the glass of their enclosure when they do not feel secure. This can be caused by inconsistent temperature, humidity issues, or a need for more hides. It can also rub its face after eating to remove substrate or foreign substances that got stuck on its mouth.

You should monitor your snake when it does face rubbing as it can cause swelling or even injury to the mouth. We are going to talk about why your snake rubs its face as well as some tips on how you can get rid of this behavior. Keep on reading!

Reasons Why Your Snake Is Rubbing Its Face

Snakes usually rub their faces against the glass of their enclosure. They were also observed rubbing their face against their hides and even their substrate.

There are also some snakes that do this behavior more than other snakes, like the ones that belong in the python family. Ball pythons and reticulated pythons are notorious in doing this, and there is still no scientific study as to why they do so.

1. Your Snake Is Stressed

Snakes can get stressed by a lot of factors, but usually it stems from feeling unsafe. When they do not feel secure in their enclosure, they will try to get out of the enclosure and this is where the face rubbing starts.

It is nice to provide a spacious enclosure that is just right for the size of your snake, but there are snakes that can get stressed by being in a huge space. Even with the presence of a hide, they may still feel too exposed.

This happens when the snake came from a breeder that housed it in a tub or container that exactly fits the snake.

Therefore, it is best to ask your breeder or even see for yourself how your snake was housed so you can provide it with a smooth transition into a larger enclosure.

2. There Is Something Wrong With Your Snake’s Enclosure

This is usually the number one reason why your snake is rubbing its face. The main culprit is the warm side of your enclosure. Check it using a temperature gun or take a look at your thermometer and see if it has exceeded 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

If it is more than 85F, then it is possible that the heat also affected the cool side of the enclosure. Another reason is there is a humidity issue.

As the temperature is rising, there is low humidity. You should adjust the humidity level especially when the enclosure gets too hot.

Getting the right temperature can be tricky to maintain when you have stacked tanks that do not have adequate spacing.

What happens is that only the bottom tank has an accurate temperature, while the top and middle tanks have varying temperature due to the heat source at the top and the vent in between.

Tip: If your snake is rubbing its face against the glass, you should also read our article on glass surfing in snakes here!

3. Your Snake Is Ready To Mate

Let us say that you have checked all the possibilities as to why your snake is rubbing its face, but everything is properly maintained. Most owners forget that their snake may be ready to mate.

This happens especially when you house male and female snakes in separate enclosures but in the same room.

If you also have a proven breeder snake, may it be male or female, they can also rub their faces against the glass to signify that they are open to mate.

Here is a snake owner who already checked for snake injuries and enclosure temperature, but still could not stop his snake from face rubbing. He found out that his female snake is simply reaching out to a male.

4. Your Snake Has A Stuck Shed

It is possible that your snake has a stuck shed that it cannot get off by rubbing against its hide or objects for enrichment inside the enclosure. Especially if the stuck shed is located in its head and mouth. The only other option is to rub it against the glass.

Snakes that have stuck eyecaps will also rub their eyes against the glass of the enclosure. Be wary of this as it can stress the snake as they will rub harder if the stuck shed does not come off. This may injure the snake.

5. There Are Mites In The Enclosure

Just like with having a stuck shed, your snake may be rubbing its nose against the glass because its mouth has mites. It is very easy to not notice mites in the enclosure as they are extremely small.

Also, mites cannot be easily seen on your snake as they appear like little black dots that may look like a part of your snake’s body pattern.

Keep in mind that even the most maintained enclosure can have an infestation of mites. So you really have to deep-clean the enclosure at least once a month.

Why Does My Snake Rub Its Face After Eating?

Your snake is rubbing its face after eating because it is trying to remove foreign substances from its mouth. During feeding, as they open their mouth to take in the feeder whole, substrate and other substances can get inside their mouth.

Therefore, if they feel that something is hanging from their mouth or something is stuck on their mouth, they will rub it away.

Keep in mind that this is just a temporary behavior that should stop after they rub off whatever it is that is bothering their mouths. If the behavior continues, then you should check out the reasons we listed above.

How do you stop a snake from rubbing its nose?

How Do You Stop Your Snake From Rubbing Its Nose?

It is best to always monitor the face-rubbing behavior of your snake. This is because too much face-rubbing may make your snake’s mouth swell or even injure their mouth and scales.

Here are some tips to stop this behavior:

  • If your enclosure is too small, move your snake in a larger enclosure and vice versa.
  • Even if your snake already has a hide, try putting more hides.
  • Give your snake more privacy by blocking out the glass of its enclosure. You can use a cloth or tape.
  • If your snake still feels insecure inside its enclosure, you can opt for a rack system.
  • Spot clean your snake’s enclosure everyday and deep clean at least once a month.
  • Always check and maintain the proper temperature of the enclosure.
  • Do handling training twice a day for 15 minutes to socialize your snake.

Final Thoughts

You should not have anything to worry about if your snake rubs its face occasionally. However, if this behavior becomes too frequent and bothering, you should immediately check their enclosure temperature and do a sweep for mites.

Usually, it is a temperature issue, but if it is not, then you have to observe your snake if it feels insecure in its enclosure. It might just be time to move it to a tub or a rack or a smaller/bigger enclosure.

Injury or swelling that was made through face-rubbing is almost always not that serious. But just to be on the safe side, you should consult your vet.

Pierre And The ReptileCraze Team
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