DIY Shed Box / Humid Hide 

Needed materials: 
- Tupperware with a lid

- Paper towel
- Sphagnum moss
- Wood burner + Sauder tip

DirectionsSelect a Tupperware that is large enough for your snake to comfortably curl up inside. The container should not be excessively large as reptiles tend to feel vulnerable during the shedding process and will naturally seek out secure small areas to hide. Melt/cut a hole in the side (near the bottom) of the Tupperware. The hole should be double the width of the widest part of the snake, to avoid the animal from getting stuck. Be sure to have paper towel on hand to clean off the wood burner tip periodically as you work, as it will become gummed, up and smoke. Please work in a well-ventilated area and away from your pets, as their lungs are more sensitive than our own. 

Smooth all around the opening edges with the Sauder tip until it is smooth to the touch. Next, wash the container with dawn dish soap and water, rinse well making sure to remove all soap residue.

Soak the Sphagnum moss in a room temperature bowl of water long enough to become fully saturated and feel spongy to the touch. This should only take a few minutes, next wring the moss out so it is damp. Place the moss inside the container, there should be enough moss to at least half fill the container to the top.

*Tip If you are out of sphagnum moss, some shredded damp paper towel can be used instead. It will need to be replaced more frequently.

Position the shed box on the hot side of the enclosure. This will increase the level of humidity within the overall enclosure and the shed box will become a very mild sauna, which will further help with the shedding process. You can now place the snake inside of the shed box, or leave them to find it on their own.

shedding & diy shed box

Updated Oct. 12, 2021

The process of shedding should take a couple of days up to two weeks. From the start of the snake’s colouration beginning to dull, you will notice that their eyes will begin to look cloudy. As the process continues, the eyes will take on a blue/grey hue, which is why many people call this stage “Going into the blue or Haze”. Some light-coloured morphs can be less obvious during these early stages. The discolouration caused by the process of shedding is due to the animal secreting a substance under the old layer of scales to help it lift off. Fascinating!

We have noticed that you can sometimes tell very early on when an animal is gearing up to shed by the appearance of its belly scales. There will be a very feint see-through line overlapping each lateral scale. We have dubbed this “Finger-nailing” as it looks a bit like the edges of a fingernail. Because we live in a dry climate, we provide the shed box at the earliest signs of shedding. There are periods of the year here that the snakes do not require any shed box at all, and in some humid climates, a shed box is not needed.

feeding while in shed
We generally do not feed animals while they are in shed and recommend likewise. It will not hurt the animal in any way to miss a meal. Many snakes refuse food during their shedding process, and may even regurgitate if they are feeling too constricted wearing their “old tight pants”. If you do decide to feed, keep the prey item on the small side. When snakes are in shed they may hide more, or appear more head shy, or jumpy. This is because their vision is impaired and movability limited making them feel more vulnerable. We recommend handling as little as possible while your pet snake is in shed, as it can cause them stress.

stuck Shed
If the humidity in the snake’s enclosure is not correct, or if the snake comes from a rescue situation, it may have a difficult or stuck shed/s. This may result in the shed coming off in patches, or the snake retaining eye caps. We always check the snake's discarded shed to make sure the eye caps came off the snake. If you find your Western Hognose is having patchy, or built-up sheds, we recommend giving them 10–20-minute warm-water soaks, two times a day. This process may need to be repeated for a week or more. If the shed is only slightly stuck, it may come off in the first soak. Never try to peel off a shed too early, as it can damage the still soft, fresh scales underneath.

If the animal has retained its eye caps, soaking them and providing a humid hide/shed box is advised. If the caps have still not come off, you may take a damp cue tip and gently rub the eye cap. If this does not provide the desired results immediately, do not continue to rub as it may cause the animal stress or do damage. A vet visit may be in order. A series of built-up sheds can not only stress an animal but can also do damage! Proper husbandry is key and an easy way to avoid stuck shed.

Added enrichmentWestern Hognoses love a humid place to hang out, it is not uncommon for them to stay long periods inside of their shed box. Folks living in dryer climates (30% humidity or less) may choose to leave a shed box in their Western Hognose’s enclosure even during times of them not being in shed. (For our adults we use the Diggy dish method instead for enrichment) This can add an extra layer of enrichment, as well as help keep your pet hydrated.

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