View Full Version : Is vinegar harmful to snakes?

Is vinegar harmful to snakes?

04-22-2008, 06:07 PM
...or do they just dislike the taste?

My youngest, Hadaly is a 1-year old mexican kingsnake and extremely nippy. I've been using a drop of vinegar to remove her from my fingers as she can happily hang on for an hour or more before she lets go.

I hate doing it though because she reacts like it's actually hurting her. It also seems to make her salivate heavily, or blow bubbles but that might be from getting ready to eat?

Nothing I can find online says that vinegar is actually toxic but if someone here knows for sure that it's safe, that would be a weight off my mind.

And is malt or distilled vinegar better?

Her older brother is much better behaved :)

Snake Dave
04-22-2008, 06:18 PM
Welcome to the forum :)

Well it probably is, vinegar is quite acidic and I don't know if it's ever happened to you, but if you get vinegar in your eye it's pretty painful. Now even though snakes have toughened eye caps, I can't say that this would be pleasant. Have you tried placing your hand back in the vivarium with her on your hand? If she still won't budge, get a misting bottle and spray some water from about 20cm or so away. That usually makes them get off (same if you're ever bitten and they won't let go). I'm curious as to why you chose vinegar and not plain ol' water.

Salivating heavily and blowing bubbles sounds like an upper respiratory infection. Does she do this at any other times?

Vinegar isn't toxic but I wouldn't use it for that purpose. It's usually used for disinfecting enclosures or cleaning glass.

Oh and by the way, just to let you know since you're new, this belongs in the General Chit-Chat forum, this section is just for Cornsnakes.

I hope that helps


04-22-2008, 07:35 PM
a bucket of room temp water to dunk your hand in would be much much healthier for your snake then vinegar,
geez vinegar burns my nose/eyes when used pure in tank cleaning, i can't imagine how my snakes would feel having it shoved in their faces.

drink a tablespoon of vinegar then decide if it is harmfull to put it on/near your snakes face.

sorry to snap but i use vinegar to clean all my tanks, i won't put a snake in until i'm sure it's dry as i'm 99% sure the smell would harm their respitory system, it sure burns my nose/throat.

04-22-2008, 08:16 PM
Thanks for the quick reply and apologies for being in the wrong forum...

I read about vinegar the first time I was trying to remove her - I think it was at:- http://www.anapsid.org/headless.html

I'm sure the saliva isn't an RI - and know what to look and listen for - although you saying that makes me wonder if some of the vinegar may have gone down the wrong way :(

She has always seemed pretty blasť about being splashed, or warm water from the faucet - but I'll try submerging her next time.

04-23-2008, 12:10 AM
submerged the choice is let go or drown, it's an auto reaction to let go.

04-23-2008, 01:09 AM
There's alcohol. Supposedly you don't even need to put any in the snakes mouth. Just holding the bottle near its head and squeeze some fumes out.

I've never had to try it, but I've heard of it from many sources.

04-23-2008, 07:39 AM
although you saying that makes me wonder if some of the vinegar may have gone down the wrong way

A snake's windpipe opens in the bottom of its mouth, so that's the probable explanation. You're getting vinegar down the windpipe. That'd make my eyes water....

To make them let go, run their head under a slowly running cold tap. Might get the "bitee" a bit damp but it's better than choking your Corn with acid.

04-23-2008, 08:44 AM
i was told rubbing alcohol will get off ANY reptile but i was skeptical as to what it could do to them

04-23-2008, 08:55 AM
I ain't a-wasting good alkeeehol on no snake, when cold water'll make the varmints git!

Rubbin' alcohol on the rocks... mmmm....

04-23-2008, 10:01 AM
Don't know about rubbing alcohol for sure.
It's dangerous for us to drink so.....
I have heard mouth wash works pretty well and not to dangerous if you do ingest some.
I think I read something about the plain old Listeren as it is also an anti bacterial?
I have found the nippy guy seems to keep his teeth to himself when I wash up good before handling with purell.