Mysterious lumps in a snake...


Dear VPI,

 We got in an egg-eating snake today (Dasypeltis). We have access to plenty of small eggs and we just couldn't resist!  The snake is about two feet long and appears to be healthy, except for three distinct lumps in the lower third of the body. 

The one that is furthest to the snake's posterior is only about an inch above the cloaca.  The three lumps are separate from each other by about an inch and are all different sizes.  Each of the lumps is firm when palpated. 

We thought that it looked gravid, but had never seen eggs in a snake that were that distinct and that separate from each other.  It's a beautiful little snake.  Your thoughts?   Thanks.  T&N


Dear T&N

I can't say. Seeing the snake up close and in hand might help, but even then, many lumps are mysterious.

The fact that there are three of them means that it probably is either egg masses or uric acid lumps-egg masses are the more likely. I don't know how three lumps could be problems with the kidneys or gonads. Egg masses are firm but aren't hard to the touch when palpated--uric acid chunks are like marbles, and they are not usually found high up in the body.

They might be parasites or parasite cysts, but I have no idea what the likelihood of that is. Most  wild-caught colubrid snakes from Africa carry a load of parasites and benefit from a couple of doses of Panacur and Flagyl, so even if the lumps have nothing to do with parasites, you might plan to worm the snake.   

I'd think I'd just watch and see what happens. Don't try to move the lumps by pushing them in the body--it never works and often has really bad results. DGB