I decided to start a new thread rather than continuing it on the very sick milksnake one (Good luck at the vets today viperspit) quote "Ive always wanted to ask about soaks in warm water. One of the features of epidermis in many/most animals is that it's an impervious barrier to water coming in (amongst other things) - else animals that lie in water would bloat (hydroscopic pressure). Is this different in snakes/reptiles? I notice that water just rolls off all of ours. I dont know if I believe this yet, but Im willing to be converted if there's a paper on it somewhere ..(anyone?)"

Neither responder at this time returned with an answer to this comment about soaking so I assume they've no idea.

If I soak in a bath for a period of time the dead plates at the surface of my skin will absorb water, swell up and go white. I dont expect the water to penetrate any further. Take sea fish for example, they're constantly drinking water that's loaded with enough salt to kill anything else. Im not a animal expert but Ive heard that they have special organs that remove and dispose of the salt. Do snakes allow hydration this way yet have special methods of removing water overdose quickly?

Prove that this isnt a great big herpetology humbug please. Its everyones duty to ask questions of established practices like this. (If you've no idea then admit it)

thanks
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[nq:1]Prove that this isnt a great big herpetology humbug please. Its everyones duty to ask questions of established practices like this. (If you've no idea then admit it)
Snake (and other reptile) skin permeability varies with the habitat that the animal has evolved to live in, life stage, and shedding cycle. Desert animals have skin that is less permeable than that of tropical rainforest animals. Snake skin is more permeable before the first shed. Skin becomes more permeable during sheds.

But the main point here is that it *is* permeable. Not much, but some.

The other purpose of soaking is that it provides a very high humidity environment and it encourages the animal to drink.

-Z
[nq:1]Snake (and other reptile) skin permeability varies with the habitat that the animal has evolved to live in, life stage, ... other purpose of soaking is that it provides a very high humidity environment and it encourages the animal to drink.
Thanks for answering Z Yes, Im not doubting that a lot of surrounding water leads to high atmospheric humidity and availability of drinking water. That's logical.

I think there is a confusion in a definition of Permeable in this reply. Shed/dead skin is already the equivalent of our own outer layers of epidermis and will be more absorbant. As skin cells move from inner to outer layers, cell structures are emptied of nuclear materials and flatten out. Outer/older layer cells walls are fractured and thus become more absorbant. Of course Im applying human biology to reptiles, so this is why Im interested in whether there's a difference in reptiles.

I'm discussing the ability of water to pass across a living tissue epidermis/dermis to join the body fluids of a snake through soaking. If this is what you mean by your section on Desert animals and less permeable skins then what is the source of this information please.

thanks
[nq:1]I'm discussing the ability of water to pass across a living tissue epidermis/dermis to join the body fluids of a ... mean by your section on Desert animals and less permeable skins then what is the source of this information please.
This is exactly what I'm talking about when I talk about permeability. Studies have been done on fluid loss in reptiles through their skins. HB Lilleywhite did a study on skin permeability in hatchling snakes that you can find here: http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/205/19/1903/i

John Rossi, DVM and Roxanne Rossi in their discussion of mite treatments in "What's wrong with my snake?" mention that skin permeability is variable in snake species and that may contribute to absorption of mite treatments, resulting in neurological damage.

See this also: http://www.anapsid.org/shedding.html Check out the very last section on the page and the quote from Rossi.
thanks

You're welcome.

-Z
[nq:2]I'm discussing the ability of water to pass across a ... skins then what is the source of this information please.
This is exactly what I'm talking about when I talk about permeability. Studies have been done on fluid loss in ... neurological damage. See this also: http://www.anapsid.org/shedding.html Check out the very last section on the page and the quote from Rossi.

thanks

You're welcome. -ZThanks Z for looking up on this As the first biologist states, the skin is a natural barrier ... any animal. Just as skin also plays a part in heat regulation, protection against infection, sensitivity to outside stimuli etc.

Skin is inwardly permeable to a smaller extent, but it depends on the size of the molecule that's attempting to get in. So allergens, some pesticides, topical drugs etc will pass through just because their size allows them to fit between the protein strands. Water molecules are just too big to pass through the skin inwardly (especially at normal surface tension levels) beyond a few keratin cells deep. Just look at the number of www papers written about various attempts to get substances through skin easily (apparently, snake sheds are a popular test medium and are slightly less permeable than human skins).

Viv humidity should match the requirements of the individual species to keep skin, eye caps lungs etc at their optimum moisture level. A bath will return these levels quickly but temporarily.

What is really concerning me is that I regularly read people recommend water baths and as a reader Ive been interpreting their advice as applying to animals that are suffering from internal dehydration. It just doesnt feel right/logical and I want people to understand what theyre saying rather than passing on wrong info.

thanks for listening to my rant
is variable in snake species and that may
Skin is inwardly permeable to a smaller extent, but it depends on the size of the molecule that's attempting to ... substances through skin easily (apparently, snake sheds are a popular test medium and are slightly less permeable than human skins).

What leads you to believe that if water can get out* that it can't get *in?
Viv humidity should match the requirements of the individual species to keep skin, eye caps lungs etc at their optimum moisture level. A bath will return these levels quickly but temporarily.

Agreed.
What is really concerning me is that I regularly read people recommend water baths and as a reader Ive been interpreting their advice as applying to animals that are suffering from internal dehydration.

Usually when I hear soaking being recommended it is either done to assist in incomplete sheds or recommended as a stopgap measure or as a treatment to be given in conjunction with other treatments in cases of dehydration.

It just doesnt feel
right/logical and I want people to understand what theyre saying rather than passing on wrong info.

Just because it doesn't "feel" right to you doesn't mean it isn't. I've had many an animal that has recovered from minor cases of dehydration after a good soak. I've also successfully used soaks to maintain an animal who recovered from severe thermal burns over her entire body and suffers from chronic dehydration. Her body appearance pre- and post-soak is significantly different. Of course, I suppose it is possible that the permeability of her skin was affected by her burns (?).

Don't misunderstand...I would never recommend soaking alone as a treatment for severe dehydration. However, as a supportive treatment I have found that it works well, and the benefit is that it causes no damage.

-Z
[nq:1]What leads you to believe that if water can get out* that it can't get *in?The function of the lipid ... into how to increase incoming permeability Expensive face creams would work at dermis level rather than corneum as manufacturers promise.
quote from http://www.lni.wa.gov/sharp/derm/skin_phys.pdf about skin physiology and persistent hydration. No mention about water passing through into the tissues.

· Persistent hydration of the skin from exposure to water results in:

· penetration of foreign substances and contribute to allergic and irritant

dermatitis and

· changes in the normal ecological environment in/on the skin, which

support the overgrowth of pathological organisms on the skin.

So far, Ive found it impossible to find anything about incoming permeation of water joining the body fluids. Maybe Im searching under the wrong key phrases. If you can find something, I can handle being embarassed and will slink away into my hole.
Usually when I hear soaking being recommended it is either done to assist in incomplete sheds or recommended as a stopgap measure or as a treatment to be given in conjunction with other treatments in cases of dehydration. It just doesnt feel

right/logical and I want people to understand what theyre saying ratherthan passing on wrong info.

Just because it doesn't "feel" right to you doesn't mean it isn't.

But if something is against the education Ive had and my ability to apply it to other situations then I question it
I've had many an animal that has recovered from minor cases of dehydration after a good soak. I've also successfully ... hate to see an animal die because someone ignorantly thinks it has the same physiology as a sea sponge. -Z

cheers Z
[nq:1]"Ive always wanted to ask about soaks in warm water. One of the features of epidermis in many/most animals is ... in (amongst other things) - else animals that lie in water would bloat (hydroscopic pressure). Is this different in snakes/reptiles?
I believe water gets in through the cloaca and then gets absorbed through the cloacal membranes.

Any faecal matter in the back passage will also absorb water, so swells and becomes soft -> snake takes a dump within a few minutes of entering the bath.

-- Syv
[nq:1]I believe water gets in through the cloaca and then gets absorbed through the cloacal membranes. Any faecal matter in ... usually absorb water leading to faecal packing. Wonder at what distance from final exit point this stops happening. Thanks syv.
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