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  1. #1
    Registered User Shadowy's Avatar
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    Question Baby ball python close mouth striked a couple times during handling today?

    Okay, so the only time she’s ever struck so far is when I pulled her hide away and spooked her. But today during our handling session she striked at my hand, didn’t open her mouth as far as I could tell. Then a couple minutes later she striked in the direction of my boyfriend changing his shirt across the room again closed mouth. But this time her tail started wagging back and forth, almost as if she was a rattlesnake. I found it adorable considering how small she is, but my boyfriend has yet to handle her as he’s a little apprehensive about snakes, and this certainly didn’t help. I passed it off as her having a mood swing to him so he wouldn’t be put off from eventually handling her.

    So first off she ate Monday, so I know she’s not hungry. And she did shed this last weekend. Is aggression normal after shedding? She also hasn’t pooped in about 3 weeks so I’m wondering if she’s backed up, could that cause aggression? This just really isn’t like her. She’s normally so gentle.
    Last edited by Shadowy; 03-14-2019 at 11:48 PM.
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  2. #2
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    She's just scared...you're moving her world too fast for her to understand without fear & self-defense. Many snakes "rattle" (vibrate) their tails when very afraid-
    it's just that rattlesnakes have retained interlocking rings of keratin to make some noise with when they do it, but in dry brush, it's not rare for many other snakes
    to be mistaken (& even killed) because they vibrate their tails in dry brush...& it sounds much like a rattlesnake. Even tiny hatchling king snakes will vibrate their
    tails when afraid, but their "extra weapon" is to spray their attacker with some well-placed feces too, in hopes of ruining a predator's appetite.

    A snake that strikes with it's mouth closed knows that you aren't food...this is just fear, they are trying to repel you. I often find that snakes feel much safer when
    cuddled close to my body & sheltered by my hands; they learn to recognize us by touch & scent...they don't see very well (other than motion)- they don't identify us
    by sight, so when you approach them all they "see" is a potential giant predator heading their way. Try to imagine yourself in their "shoes"...slow down & help her
    to feel safe with you. Remember that you can be holding a snake & still scare them with your other hand...they don't logically know that all these 'moving parts' are
    parts of the same thing they're sitting on, so while they get used to being handled, keep your hands under them as much as you can, but hold them close to your body.
    Snakes instinctively fear being out in the open...that's where predators can easily see & have them for dinner.

    Shedding- snakes prefer to be left alone when cloudy...instincts have taught them it's much safer to lay low when they can't see well. After a shed is not
    normally an issue, except yours is just still learning. Likewise, having to "go" is also unrelated.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 03-15-2019 at 12:00 AM.

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    gunkle (03-15-2019),Shadowy (03-15-2019),Sonny1318 (03-15-2019)

  4. #3
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    By the way, a person changing their shirt looks much like a bird of prey swooping in for a snake-kill from across the room & to a little fearful snake. Patience.

    Another thing that may help your snake learn that it's safe when handled is to put a small towel or cloth over it, so it's focused on your scent & touch only,
    without being so afraid of what it's seeing. I once took in a yearling BCI that had changed homes repeatedly before being given to me...because she bit
    everyone & as often as she could. She was just so terrified, NOT some "evil creature from the underworld" as she was called, & after about a month or so
    of my handling her under a hand towel, I started letting her peek out. By then, she "knew" my touch & scent was safe...& it wasn't long before she caught
    on that I wasn't as bad as she feared, lol. When I first got her, she wanted nothing more than to bite me & fill me with holes, but by the time I calmed her
    down, it barely occurred to her when she was finally unveiled, & after a few times, she stopped worrying about me "eating her". Never had even ONE bite,
    not in all the years she was mine...she became reliably cuddly. You can do this too-
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 03-15-2019 at 12:10 AM.

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  6. #4
    Registered User Shadowy's Avatar
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    Re: Baby ball python close mouth striked a couple times during handling today?

    Thanks for the info! I figured she was startled. She was particularly active tonight so every time I put her in my lap with my hands around her she would go slithering off exploring, tongue flickin and everything. Then out of nowhere shed get scared. When I put her back in my lap itd just repeat. Yesterday was a great handling session, she was so calm the whole time I think she fell asleep. Lol one step forward two steps back to getting her used to being with me.
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    I think you're right...once is not enough, they can back-slide...they learn by repetition, sorta like we do. Each time you handle, her stress should become
    less: they learn their way around in the wild, where to go back to hide for safety from harsh weather & predators, so as pets, we're like their "environment".
    Some snakes learn faster than others, but it's worth the time you put in, to have a cuddly pet that doesn't bite or panic, & less stress helps them feed better
    & stay healthier (stress promotes reduced immune function).

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