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  1. #1
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    Sudden Aggressiveness in Young BP?

    Iíve had my ball python Cinnamon since January. She was supposedly a year old at that time (she was a rescue from a bad situation, so she was pretty tiny and Iím not 100% if that was her actual age). I took her home, and she plumped up very quickly and everything seemed to be going fine. Sheís perfectly healthy, her poop is normal, her sheds are in one piece and look great, and thereís nothing seemingly WRONG with her that I can tell, but sheís been acting increasingly aggressive and Iím getting a little concerned.

    I recently upgraded her tank from the small 20g long she was in as a baby to a 75 gal (roughly, I donít know exact sizes) PVC cage from NPI. Itís been about 9 days since then. She ate this Monday, I fed her the last two adult mice I had in favor of moving up to bigger food to accommodate her size and she ate readily. For the first time ever, when I picked her up to move her to her feeding bin, she struck out in an excited frenzy and actually ejected herself from the box and bit the cardboard before finding the mouse and pulling it in.

    I gave her about 48 hours to digest, and went to handle her tonight. She was holding her head out in the preemptive ĎSí striking pose, so I gently tapped her on the head with a pair of metal tongs to try and snap her out of the feeding response. This seemed to work, but when I went to pick her up she actually hissed at me for the first time in her life. I didnít pick her up, and left her to her own devices, but Iím getting worried about her sudden aggressiveness.

    Itís been getting worse since I moved her, and I donít know if itís new cage stress, hunger, or some kind of snake puberty. I try to handle her very frequently to reduce this aggression, but Iím just really scared sheís going to continue to get more and more aggressive. Does anyone else have experience with this? Iíve never raised a ball python before, so Iím really not sure if this is a normal behavior or not. Any advice or tips would be wholly appreciated. Thank you!! Iíll also post some pictures of her the day I took her home vs. a few days ago for size references.



  2. #2
    BPnet Veteran alittleFREE's Avatar
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    Sudden Aggressiveness in Young BP?

    Thatís a big upgrade in enclosure size for her, so in addition to the usual stress of having new surroundings, she probably also feels more vulnerable than normal.

    How do you have the cage set up? I would fill it up with as many hides and as much cover as possible to make her feel more secure.

    In addition to that, I would definitely move her to rats (which it sounds like youíre planning on?) - that will help with any hunger related aggression.



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    Last edited by alittleFREE; 08-09-2018 at 11:48 PM.

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  4. #3
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    I donít know if itís new cage stress, hunger, or some kind of snake puberty. I try to handle her very frequently to reduce this aggression
    Likely a combination of enclosure + over handling.

    Holding a BP frequently does not reduce aggression it increases stress.

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  6. #4
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    I agree it's likely stressed from the change to a much larger enclosure (& with adequate hides & furnishings that enhance privacy, this should pass in time),
    but I'd call it "defensiveness" rather than "aggression". Try not to take it personal or make too much of it...your snake doesn't understand why their entire
    "world" just changed, and it's scary for them, ok?

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    Re: Sudden Aggressiveness in Young BP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    I agree it's likely stressed from the change to a much larger enclosure (& with adequate hides & furnishings that enhance privacy, this should pass in time),
    but I'd call it "defensiveness" rather than "aggression". Try not to take it personal or make too much of it...your snake doesn't understand why their entire
    "world" just changed, and it's scary for them, ok?
    I do understand that the tank change is likely very scary for her, however she did begin displaying this behavior before the move as well. She has lots of hides that she can burrow into and feel safe inside. I would like to specify that I do not hold her or attempt to interact with her when she is clearly stressed out, and only take her out maybe 1-2 times a week when sheís in a good mood. I also did not interact with her for a week while she was inside her new enclosure except to feed to help reduce stress. I canít help but feel like thereís other factors playing into it besides her tank... I just donít know what else it would be besides possibly hunger. I guess weíll see what happens after the next feeding when her food size is dramatically increased.
    i apologize if I seem to be over-thinking or taking anything personally, I just get very worried at sudden behavior changes in my animals when everything seems to be fine otherwise.

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    Re: Sudden Aggressiveness in Young BP?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dystopoly View Post
    I do understand that the tank change is likely very scary for her, however she did begin displaying this behavior before the move as well. She has lots of hides that she can burrow into and feel safe inside. I would like to specify that I do not hold her or attempt to interact with her when she is clearly stressed out, and only take her out maybe 1-2 times a week when sheís in a good mood. I also did not interact with her for a week while she was inside her new enclosure except to feed to help reduce stress. I canít help but feel like thereís other factors playing into it besides her tank... I just donít know what else it would be besides possibly hunger. I guess weíll see what happens after the next feeding when her food size is dramatically increased.
    i apologize if I seem to be over-thinking or taking anything personally, I just get very worried at sudden behavior changes in my animals when everything seems to be fine otherwise.
    Your hunch may be correct: hungry snakes can be "cranky", but so can snakes that have issues of discomfort or pain. Hunger is most likely.
    And no need to "apologize"...you're a caring owner who is paying attention and looking for possible explanations...that's a GOOD thing.
    Snakes aren't the easiest pets to figure out either.

  9. #7
    BPnet Senior Member Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: Sudden Aggressiveness in Young BP?

    To be honest I really think yuh should refrain from moving her to a separate feeding box !

    I can't guarantee it will make any difference but I'm sure it will .

    The days of feeding boxes are long gone - its generally advised to feed in their viv / tub nowadays.

    Kinda sounds as though its gonna be a great feeder and it's hungry at the same time .

    I'd leave it to settle for 5 days minimum then ... on feeding day put a couple of pieces of card down in the viv in the morning and then in the evening feed over the card just so no substrate is eaten with the mouse / rat .


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  11. #8
    Registered User craigafrechette's Avatar
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    Feed in the enclosure moving forward. There is absolutely ZERO benefit to feeding in a separate tub.

    A) you're more likely to have refusals due to the snake being stressed from being moved.
    B) You increase the chance of the snake regurgitating it's meal due to being moved after eating
    C) you increase the chance of getting tagged as the animal will be in feed mode


    Also, over handling in general can stress the animal. Especially after an enclosure change. Give your snake a little time to acclimate.
    Last edited by craigafrechette; 08-10-2018 at 11:27 AM.
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