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Holly's Egg-Citing Story

(Please note that this article contains scenes of surgery)

History: When Holly, a 3 year old Cornsnake had difficulty laying eggs her owners knew something wasn’t right. Holly had laid several clutches in the past without complications. However, this clutch proved more problematic. She had laid 23 normal sized eggs but she still had 4 left inside her of which two were very large. Her owners brought her to Valley Vets where Sophie her vet examined her.

Findings: The husbandry was excellent and Holly was in otherwise good condition. Sophie could see straight away the 4 large egg shaped bulges in her lower body. There did not appear to be any reason for a blockage. X-rays were taken and showed 4 eggs but did not reveal a blockage. The decision of medical therapy was made and Holly was given calcium supplements and oxytocin injections to stimulate her to lay eggs. However, over the following week there was no change and so surgery was deemed as the best option.

Surgery: Holly was given a pre-medication with pain-relief to keep her calm. She was then placed in a zip bag full of anaesthetic gas to allow her to breath this in before being placed on a ventilator for continuous general anaesthetic.


A heat mat and heat lamp kept her warm during surgery. Sophie incised into the lower bodycavity where the eggs were. 


The four eggs were removed from one hole.

Sutures were placed for closure in the soft tissues and in the skin. Holly was given warm fluids to help keep her blood pressure from dropping. She was closely monitored and went on to make a good recovery.

Future: Holly will need close monitoring during the next few weeks and especially if she has clutches of eggs in the future. Why this happened in Holly’s case is still a mystery. Occasionally problems with egg laying can be due to incorrect husbandry, lack of calcium and stress. If you breed reptiles and are worried about egg laying problems please just have a chat with one of our nurses about best options for each species.

Valley Vets wish to Thank Holly's owners for letting us share her story.