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  1. #1
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    Snapping juvenile new home

    Hey guys! Want to start by saying this forum always has the best info and many awesome owners educating. I learned so much in the past for my previous snakes. I was able to raise 3 snakes into adulthood as a teen because of info here! I had to give them away though due to college and roommates who were too scared to live with me and my pets

    Now I am trying again! I have my own space and the money to get the best care but I need your help!

    Ok so a little about my BP. Just got her and the breeder has her birth month as October 2018. She is a lemonburst morph. It's been about 2 weeks since I got her. First week just chilling to get acclimated. She took her first meal a few days ago and that was a breeze! But today I wanted to check on her and she snapped! I wasn't aggressive but startled and dropped her.

    Now I read on other posts and I saw it could be:

    Hunger
    Mistaken me for prey (I used my feeding tongs to get her sigh I know...)
    Husbandry
    New surroundings
    Nippy juvenile phase

    Among many others. I know the tongs could have been the issue but after I dropped her she kept snapping after

    My stats on husbandry are:

    88-92 hot side (heating lamp runs day hours and uth runs all day with a thermostat at 90) 70 on the cool side.

    Humidity high 20s. This could probably be better but it's cold and dry in the north east so I'll try and do better.

    Have two acurites as my thermomters / hydrometers

    About 1/2 inch substrate of paper towels and shelf liner

    Three hides for hot, middle, and cool side.

    20 gal long but hot side is built like a fort with decorations and structures to give a "tight" feel for the juvenile. They grow out of 10s very quickly from what I remember!

    So I see a few areas I could improve on above but I guess I just wanna know what I can do so could you guide me?

    I read a t-shirt trick but I didn't follow as it was referenced as sort of an understood solution...I put in a used tshirt with my scent in the tank?

    If she's hungry should I feed her again? Is that reward for snappy behavior though? I'm worried!

    Do I just leave her alone for a few weeks now?

    I can make a "hook" for future removal but what if she won't let me hold her to get me acclimated ever?

    Really appreciate any feedback or suggestions. I really want to get this right I don't know...I feel more responsible as an adult but in less control haha and it makes me feel foolish. Any help you can offer would be awesome!

  2. #2
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    Sounds like a scared little noodle to me...but I'm confused: "you dropped her" so that means she didn't snap at you until after you picked her up?

    That's unusual...but I think she just panicked...she wasn't ready for so much 'hands-on' interaction, and you are scarier than you realized... at least, to
    a shy little snake. Snakes run on instincts, & the only thing that picks them up in nature is a predator that's about to eat them. Were you licking your lips?

    Snakes are NOT "trainable" in the usual sense: food is not a "reward", it's an essential. Eventually she'll learn to feel safe with you, but it takes time for a snake
    to learn. I hope the fear & stress she is now feeling doesn't put her off taking the next meal(s)...it does sometimes.

    You've only had her for "about two weeks" & for best results, we recommend NO handling a new snake UNTIL AFTER they've taken 3 meals at normal intervals
    with a new owner...then 2 days after the last meal to finish digesting so they don't up-chuck it...meaning you wouldn't be handling a new snake for about the
    first MONTH. That way they have time to settle in...less stress for them, less chance of putting them off-feed which can be detrimental, unlike "taming" a snake
    for which there is NO hurry whatsoever. She's not going to grow into the Loch Ness Monster overnight...so be patient. First things first, let her be for now.

    (A shirt with your scent may or may not help much...won't hurt to try, but don't pick your favorite shirt, she might take a dump on it, lol.)
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-30-2019 at 08:15 PM.

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    Re: Snapping juvenile new home

    Yeah I had her on top of the tongs already and then turned around and snapped! Haha no licking of the lips I swear

    I guess I was paranoid and wanted to handle her not even by hand just wanted to check for droppings under the hide. Check her skin in general (I wasn't sure when her last shed was). I dunno I guess I was just super concerned. I'm normally not an owner that wants to handle just for the sake of it. It's just been a while so I wanted to get right into checking on things prob my fault haha

    If she strikes because of possible smell on the tongs should I feed her again you think. I have hoppers right now but she's about 5 months old now so maybe one a few days ago wasn't enough? She did fly overnight to get to me haha it was frozen thawed too and she took it immediately where I know my past balls either didn't take them all or needed major coersion. Maybe I'm overthinking :sob: thanks for the response!

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    Registered User MR Snakes's Avatar
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    20% humidity sounds way low. BP's need 60-70%. And cool side closer to 80 would be nice.

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    Re: Snapping juvenile new home

    Ah crap one more thing! She appears to be doing something like stargazing since day 1 here. I know that could be a sign of respiratory infection but the way it's described is more like a dazed snake and when she does it she looks very in control almost flaunting cobra esque? She stick up about 6 inches of her body head can be flat or sort of loose but def a stretching neck thing. Then she got back into her "s" or to drink water like nothing happened?

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    Don't offer food again yet: it's no harm if she's isn't "full" from what you fed her...but you need to wait about a week to be sure it is digested before offering any
    more food. Snakes are not like us...digestion needs to progress uninterrupted...adding more food to their stomach (with partially-digested prey) will normally result
    in them throwing it ALL up. Don't do it. The only way it's OK to feed more than one item is if they take each item right away, with not more than an hour between
    them & preferably less than an hour's time.

    FYI, snakes don't feel secure being dangled, either by tongs or hands or snake-hooks. They feel exposed & scared...you earned her attempted bite. When you do
    get around to handling, keep your hands under her ("they don't bite the ground they crawl on"...so be the ground!) & cuddling them close to your body usually helps
    them feel safer...just don't handle near your face. As I said, they learn to feel safe with us, & usually doesn't take that long. Don't worry, snakes don't generally
    harbor any mean thoughts, they're just shy & afraid. Try to imagine how YOU'D feel if something 100 times bigger than you suddenly scooped you up! Would you
    assume it had good intentions or bad?

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  9. #7
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    Re: Snapping juvenile new home

    Since she's so new she's probably still getting used to you and her environment which may make her more nippy than usual.

    I think the first snap may have been from you reaching in with the feeding tongs, which might have had the scent of mouse on them and put her into feeding mode, and then the following strikes may have been a result of her being startled into a defensive mode after being dropped. Definitely would recommend not using the feeding tongs for anything but offering food in the future!

    As long as the prey you fed her was the correct size (width of thickest part of her body, 10-15% of her weight) I'd say waiting till the next feeding day is fine.

    Here are some videos on how people deal with defensive young (or adult) BPs:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7DQssbM0uk
    https://youtu.be/MHFlgkM2tTU?t=140

    Once she has settled in hopefully she will calm down, and even if she doesn't most BPs will stop being nippy when they are adults. Of course, there are always exceptions, but on the bright side I've read that nippy snakes tend to be better eaters so maybe you'll have fewer feeding problems with her even if she stays defensive.

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    Re: Snapping juvenile new home

    Quote Originally Posted by bdc873 View Post
    Ah crap one more thing! She appears to be doing something like stargazing since day 1 here. I know that could be a sign of respiratory infection but the way it's described is more like a dazed snake and when she does it she looks very in control almost flaunting cobra esque? She stick up about 6 inches of her body head can be flat or sort of loose but def a stretching neck thing. Then she got back into her "s" or to drink water like nothing happened?
    Seeing this would help...video best, rather than still photos. Probably nothing more than curiosity, sniffing the air, etc. "Stargazing" is generally more than just raised head to sniff the air.

    If you see her act as if she is NOT in control, like she cannot keep her balance, or if you turn her upside down & she cannot right herself, that's a whole different thing that may be serious & I'm not talking RI. But what you described sounds OK...at least without seeing what she is doing.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 01-30-2019 at 09:11 PM.

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    Thanks everyone all of this makes sense! I'll try and take a vid next time yeah though like you said she seems in control. Sniffing air and such. As for dangling that makes sense too. I normally cup them but this time I was checking her belly because I realize I didn't check the condition of her belly really since I got her.

    Funny you mention eating because my first ball was a pretty bad eater.

    Once again thanks again I'll keep all this advice in mind. I'll probably leave her alone for a while.

  13. #10
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    Re: Snapping juvenile new home

    Sounds like she's just scared. Transport and moving to a new home can be pretty stressful on an animal, and while some act like nothing ever happened, others don't, get scared, and act out like this. I think best you can do is provide good hides, which it sounds like you have, and just leave her be for a while.

    Oh, and get that humidity up! At least to about 50-60%. If she goes into shed at 20% humidity, it probably won't come out well, causing you to possibly have to do more handling to get that stuck shed off. That will add stress to the snake and most likely more snappy behavior.

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