'Mouth rot’ is the colloquial term for the oral infections, or stomatitis, commonly seen in many reptiles. It is particularly seen in snakes and chelonians, in chelonian species often after hibernation and is associated with anorexia.
Their are many possible causes for mouth rot. In the case of chelonians it has been associated with the herpes virus whilst in many snakes and tortoises it is usually caused by secondary infections by bacteria. The initial cause of the damage can be from rubbing of the snout on vivarium glass, particularly in snakes. The use of opaque tape stuck to the outside of the glass helps the snake to ‘see it’, preventing this injury. Stomatitis may also be due to the overzealous force-feeding of anorectic reptiles, or simply due to other disease or stresses leading to reduced immune system function. An animal afflicted with mouth rot may be unable to close its mouth, this can affect the animals ability to eat.