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  1. #1
    Registered User targciv's Avatar
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    Are these signs of stress while handling my snake?

    I handle Bella every day for 15-30 minutes, except the day I feed her and for two days after I feed her - so 4 times a week total. She doesn’t seem stressed when I go to take her out of her cage, she usually balls up then I pick her up. She’s usually still for the first minute or so that I handle her, then she starts crawling around my hands, and she’s never still after that - she might rest for a few seconds then she’s starts crawling again. I know snakes just tolerate us handling them, so naturally she’s not enjoying this, but I’m not sure if she’s really stressed out or not. She never strikes while I’m handling her, and I don’t make any sudden movements so she doesn’t jerk around either. I can even get away with touching her underneath her chin and she doesn’t flinch away. She’s doesn’t try to quickly slither away from me when I’m handling her, it doesn’t seem like shes desperately trying to get away. She eats every week, and she comes out of her hide at night to explore. This is kind of how she’s always been while handling - usually active instead of just sitting still. Is this normal? She’s only a few months old i think. Does every snake just have a different handling personality? Do they usually become less active while handling as they get older?



  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member tttaylorrr's Avatar
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    Re: Are these signs of stress while handling my snake?

    every time you handle the snake, the snake will get a bit stressed; the longer you handle, the higher the stress level will raise. a beep constantly moving is a beep trying to get away, aka they don't want to be there, aka they're stressed.

    a little stress is not bad; constant and regular stress is.

    this also depends on the animal. out of my 6 beeps, i have one (Spaghetti, ~2yo Coral Glow female) that does NOT enjoy handling, and a new addition (Sweetness, hatchling CG male) that seems easily stressed by it. neither bite or posture to, and the young one is a hissy lil thing, but it's obvious they're not comfortable. my oldest male (Yellow, 3.5yo Albino male) i can easily handle for 30min or more, but i don't, as i understand that his needs are important too.

    i only handle my beeps for ~20 max, as that's when i can usually start seeing obvious stress signals: prolonged tongue flicks, constant moving around, trying to get away from me.

    next time you handle, start paying very close attention to the body language and try to learn what the snake is saying. you'll get better at it, and learn when to call it quits.
    Last edited by tttaylorrr; 05-01-2018 at 12:13 AM.
    4.4 ball python
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  4. #3
    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    You didn't mention how long you've had this snake? I'm guessing she's fairly new to you?

    Snakes are typically shy: the only thing that picks them up in the wild is normally a predator that's about to have them for dinner, so being handled is scary at first.
    That said, they usually do learn, with patient & gentle handling, to relax when we handle them; most appear to learn & retain the notion that they feel safe with us.

    All snakes have their own personalities too, & learn at different rates. When she balls up, that roughly translates to "go away, giant!" The activity can either mean a
    snake is stressed & trying to get away from you, or just that it wants to explore once they realize there's no more cage holding them in. Subject to interpretation...for
    some snakes it might also mean they're too warm (easy to forget that we're 98.6*) but that shouldn't be an issue for your BP.

    Your snake has a good appetite & eats regularly: a snake that feels stressed may refuse to eat, so that tells me that your snake isn't all that stressed by your handling.

    Sometimes the response you get when handling a snake is the result of how you're doing it: snakes like to feel safe, & being out in the open does NOT feel safe to them,
    as instinctively they know they're at risk from predators. Instead of holding a snake on your hand/arm, try cuddling them close to your body...they feel safer that way.

    You might also want to sit down & relax when you hold a snake...15-30 minutes barely gives them time to get over the shock of being hoisted out of their safety zone.
    I've also noticed that many snakes get mellow if I sit in a hammock or rocking chair with them...no idea why, but it seems to work. If you have neither, just sway a bit.

    Handling snakes is a conversation, but instead of words, you're using touch. It's how snakes know if we're a predator or a pal.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 05-01-2018 at 02:49 AM.

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  6. #4
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    Re: Are these signs of stress while handling my snake?

    My family is very fond of snakes, especially my mother has great feelings for her. As a child, she constantly communicated with them and, according to my grandmother's stories, she had snakes in her room. I don't know, maybe it's strange, but each person has their own preferences. I am neutral towards snakes, but an unpleasant situation arose in our family, which has permanently removed the snakes from our lives. One day, my father brought home a little mongoose, which was a very thin and beaten baby. We looked after him for a long time and one day we left him alone in the house and went to the supermarket. After arriving home, we discovered how the mongoose ate our snake. Before that, we did not suspect and never thought about the fact that mongooses eat snakes. Now we can't drive the little mongoose out into the street, but we won't buy snakes either.

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