example of a classic ball python burn
Classic burn to this ball python’s underside. Source: Ball-Pythons.net


  • reddening of light-colored areas
  • blistering
  • open wounds with no apparent cause


  • heat mats without thermostats
  • malfunctioning thermostats
  • heat rocks
  • direct contact with a heat lamp, ceramic heat emitter, or the glass over a heat mat


Blisters and open wounds should be treated by soaking in a povidone iodine and water solution for 30 minutes daily until the injury has healed. A topical antibiotic like Polysporin, Silvadene cream, or Betadine ointment should be applied to the burned area after soaking. As with humans, a burn can dehydrate your snake, so make sure they have plenty of fresh water to drink.

If the python begins to shed the burned tissue, the burn is large, or seems particularly deep, veterinary care is required. Burns can quickly lead to dangerous bacterial infections if left untreated. When in doubt, always call the vet.

A ball python burn can take a long time to heal — it may take several shedding cycles before your pet begins to look like him/herself again. However, there will likely be permanent scarring.

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