How to Respectfully Dispose of a Dead Pet Snake

Regardless of whether you have a dog, cat, hamster, bird, or snake, saying goodbye to your pets is never an easy thing to do. However, once the day comes that your pet has passed, it will then be time to decide what to do with its remains. The question is, what exactly are your options?

To respectfully dispose of a dead pet snake, pet owners can either call the vet, bury the snake themselves, or cremate the snake. Burial is an easy choice and can sometimes be done on the owner’s property or through the vet. Cremation is equally popular, though it is the more expensive option.

So, now that you know what your options are, which one is the right option? The truth is, any of these could work just fine for you, you just need to decide which one best suits your wants and circumstances. Let’s talk a little bit more about each of these options and what each of them entails.

Symptoms and Causes of Death

Before we talk about disposal options, it may be a good idea to know what to prepare for when the time to say goodbye to your snake comes. There are a few signs and conditions you’ll need to recognize and be on the lookout for as your snake’s age progresses. Here are a few signs that the time for goodbyes has finally arrived.

First, you’ll need to search for signs of severe illness. Lethargy and stargazing are two big signs. The word stargazing refers to when a snake holds unusually still and holds its head as though it’s looking to the sky. This is a sign of major discomfort and often major illness. Likewise, lethargy is a sure sign that something is seriously wrong.

There will be other physical signs as well. You may start to notice your snake giving off discharge either from its eyes or nose, and occasionally from its mouth if the gums are inflamed or infected.

You may also notice that the snake’s breathing is ragged and irregular. Snakes should be able to breathe from their nostrils completely silently. If it starts breathing from its mouth, this is also a sign that something is not right. It’s also likely indicative of serious discomfort.

Discoloration and spotting are both bad signs as well. If you start to see red or black spots on your snake’s skin or reddening/pinkish discoloration on the underbelly, that’s another sign that you need to check them into the doctor’s office. Don’t waste time in doing so; you’ll want to get the problem diagnosed sooner than later, especially if there’s a chance you could treat your pet.

When dying, snakes will often stop eating which is always a sad and bad sign. Sometimes when an animal is sick and/or old enough, it will simply give up. When this happens, it’s probably a good indication of the need for humane euthanization. Now, because you love your snake, euthanization might seem like a backward answer. In reality, however, putting your snake down might very well be the most merciful thing you can do.

Respectful Disposal

Now that you’ve said goodbye to your scaly friend, the next step is deciding what to do with them. You want to do them justice and dispose of them as respectfully as you can. Don’t worry, though! Veterinary disposal, burial, and cremation are all fine options, let’s explore them a little better.

Call the Vet

Sometimes, no matter how much you love your snake, it’s can feel like too much to bear to carry out the disposal yourself and that’s okay. The easiest thing you could do is call your vet and ask them what to do with it. Often when you take pets in to have them put down, the vet will take care of the body for you.


Burial is the next easiest option. You may still need a vet’s help with this, but either way, you can arrange for your snake to be buried in a place that’s meaningful to you. The burial can be in one of a couple of places.

If you feel so inclined, you can do a little research and find the nearest pet cemetery to where you live. There, you can arrange to purchase a small plot and have your snake buried there. Mind you, it can be somewhat pricey to bury your pet at a cemetery. However, it can be nice to have a meaningful place to visit when your pet is no longer with you.

If you’d prefer not to spend $1,500 on a pet cemetery plot and/or you’d like to have your snake buried a little closer to home, you could always bury them on your property. You’ll have to be careful when you do this because you don’t want to bury the body in a place where it could poison, say, a water supply. However, it’ll be nice to have your snake close enough so you can “visit” them anytime you want.

The only thing that might prove difficult is finding an appropriate place to bury them. In some areas, certain laws and regulations might prevent you from being able to bury your snake where you’d like to on your property. You’ll have to work with your vet and perhaps some local officials to determine what will work.


Cremation is a fairly popular alternative to burial. You can either spread your snake’s ashes in a significant area or you can even keep them in an urn right in your home. This is not only a popular way to memorialize your snake, but it’s also a memorable and sentimental way to do so.

The only thing about cremation is that it can be quite expensive. Most often it will cost somewhere between $50-$150 but in some places, it can even be more expensive than that. If this is a cost you are prepared to pay, then, by all means, cremate your snake. Once you do, you can memorialize it in any way you see fit.

Carolina Pieters

I'm Carolina and created this blog, to provide practical advice and emotional comfort for those dealing with pet loss.

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