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  1. #1
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    Question My baby ball python strikes my hands and face

    I bought a beautiful female ball at Repticon. She strikes whenever I handle her. If she is in my hand she will turn and strike the hand. If I put her on my lap she strikes at my face. Even though my face is not close to her. She shows no sign of adjusting. I've only had her for four weeks but am starting to get a little intimidated. My other baby is calm and sweet. Any suggestions are welcome. She is housed in her own tank with two hides, one warm, one cool, a branch and a water bowl. I also keep her tank mostly covered with a towel except the front. They are my first balls, and I am doing tons of reading trying to get informed. Looking for help!

  2. #2
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    They strike toward the warmest spot, which is the head, she strikes whenever you handle her because she is either stressed (husbandry not meeting her needs or over handling) or not being fed enough, they do not all react the same way even if they are kept in the same manner or handled the same amount of time, some are more subject to stress than others.

    How big is she (weight?) and how big is her enclosure? How often do you handle her?

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    How much have you been handling it?

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    Re: My baby ball python strikes my hands and face

    I am not sure about her weight but she is about 12 weeks old. I handle her 3 or four days a week, but not more than five minutes. She is in a 30 gallon tank with two hides. She alternates between the warm one and cool one. She eats a hopper every week. The first one I gave her, she kept striking and missing, but since then she gets it on her first try. She is fed in a container other than her tank. My other baby is in a twenty gallon tank and I was thinking of switching them but am hesitant to do so without really bleaching out the tank. Or I could get her a smaller one of her own. Again I am new to this. her tank is only heated by a heating pad stuck under the tank. It cane with the tank. Should she have more heat than this? I was told no, but need some expert advice! I would post a picture of my setup but can't figure out how to do that.

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    Re: My baby ball python strikes my hands and face

    I am by no means an expert but most people recommend to feed inside of their enclosures or they could associate being removed with feeding. My main point to posting was to make sure there is a thermostat connected to the heat pad. Recently saw some pictures of a burnt snake and it was not pretty. Also, does she seem stressed when not being handled? If you've been handling 3-4 a week since the day you brought her home maybe she hasn't had the opportunity fully relax and acclimate. I would personally leave her be, feed an appropriate sized meal once a week (10-15%) of body weight for several weeks and don't handle at all. Maybe try to work with her again after about a month. Again, this comes from my short experience and a ton of research. Again, hopefully someone with some more experience can chime in. Make sure the hides are an appropriate size as well.
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  9. #6
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    Re: My baby ball python strikes my hands and face

    Do NOT feed her in another container. This is more confusing for a snake, & you're MORE likely to get bites, both before & after; your snake is thinking "food!" &
    there you are, warm & wiggling around like prey. In addition, after eating snakes stay pumped up to pounce on prey for anywhere from hours to a day or more. You
    are asking for bites, IMO. (Also & FYI, some snakes will refuse to eat if handled before being fed...you're lucky she's eating when you've handled her first.)

    Snakes have different personalities- in my experience, I sometimes appreciate most the ones that make me work harder to figure them out & calm them down. Look
    at it this way: if they were all "easy" like your other one, what would you learn?

    You say you handle her 3-4 times/week, but not over 5 minutes: that's all wrong, IMO. Snake have to overcome their instincts about being "picked up". Normally, in
    the wild, the only thing that wants to pick them up is a predator about to eat them. (yes, our face is scary to a little snake!) Therefore, you are MOST likely to get bit
    when you approach & pick up your snake, and how you do it matters. Give them time to recognize your scent & touch, & remember they don't recognize us visually!

    In handling for such a short time, your snake never has time to learn to relax & feel sheltered by you. Cuddle them close to your body so they feel like they're hiding.
    If a snake is very fearful of you (remember, they assume we're some giant predator!) you might try putting a small cloth/towel over them so they feel like they're hiding,
    & meanwhile, they get used to your scent & touch. And since the approach & pick-up is the scariest thing, 5 minutes or less just doesn't cut it...it makes them a nervous
    wreck (unless very mellow by nature, as your other one seems to be). They need time to learn to trust you...sit still & watch some TV or read while cuddling your snake
    for a little longer (say 30 minutes+) so they have time to adjust & learn about you.

    Remember that snakes that are either shipped or bought at an expo are very stressed- so do be patient. Try to imagine how confusing it is to them...their whole world
    has changed & they take that as a threat. You say you're getting "a little intimidated" but you're the "giant" here...your snake is terrified, and justifiably so.

    Your UTH (heat pad) needs to be regulated by thermostat...otherwise your snake may not be warm enough, or may actually get serious (life-threatening) burns. You also
    want the cool side of the tank to be about 82* & the warm side (over the UTH) to be about 90-91* max. The best time to test your cage is before you bring the snake
    home...she may well need more (or less!) heat. You need to be able to accurately measure the temps. in the cages...this is critically important, especially with BPs. Please
    do this A.S.A.P.

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  11. #7
    Registered User Danger noodles's Avatar
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    Re: My baby ball python strikes my hands and face

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Do NOT feed her in another container. This is more confusing for a snake, & you're MORE likely to get bites, both before & after; your snake is thinking "food!" &
    there you are, warm & wiggling around like prey. In addition, after eating snakes stay pumped up to pounce on prey for anywhere from hours to a day or more. You
    are asking for bites, IMO. (Also & FYI, some snakes will refuse to eat if handled before being fed...you're lucky she's eating when you've handled her first.)

    Snakes have different personalities- in my experience, I sometimes appreciate most the ones that make me work harder to figure them out & calm them down. Look
    at it this way: if they were all "easy" like your other one, what would you learn?

    You say you handle her 3-4 times/week, but not over 5 minutes: that's all wrong, IMO. Snake have to overcome their instincts about being "picked up". Normally, in
    the wild, the only thing that wants to pick them up is a predator about to eat them. (yes, our face is scary to a little snake!) Therefore, you are MOST likely to get bit
    when you approach & pick up your snake, and how you do it matters. Give them time to recognize your scent & touch, & remember they don't recognize us visually!

    In handling for such a short time, your snake never has time to learn to relax & feel sheltered by you. Cuddle them close to your body so they feel like they're hiding.
    If a snake is very fearful of you (remember, they assume we're some giant predator!) you might try putting a small cloth/towel over them so they feel like they're hiding,
    & meanwhile, they get used to your scent & touch. And since the approach & pick-up is the scariest thing, 5 minutes or less just doesn't cut it...it makes them a nervous
    wreck (unless very mellow by nature, as your other one seems to be). They need time to learn to trust you...sit still & watch some TV or read while cuddling your snake
    for a little longer (say 30 minutes+) so they have time to adjust & learn about you.

    Remember that snakes that are either shipped or bought at an expo are very stressed- so do be patient. Try to imagine how confusing it is to them...their whole world
    has changed & they take that as a threat. You say you're getting "a little intimidated" but you're the "giant" here...your snake is terrified, and justifiably so.

    Your UTH (heat pad) needs to be regulated by thermostat...otherwise your snake may not be warm enough, or may actually get serious (life-threatening) burns. You also
    want the cool side of the tank to be about 82* & the warm side (over the UTH) to be about 90-91* max. The best time to test your cage is before you bring the snake
    home...she may well need more (or less!) heat. You need to be able to accurately measure the temps. in the cages...this is critically important, especially with BPs. Please
    do this A.S.A.P.
    I just quoted this so that u read it twice!!


    Also its its a very young snake. Everything is scary. Give it time and get your enclosure perfect and Id bet u have a nice snake! They tell u when something is off for them the only way they know how

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  13. #8
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    Re: My baby ball python strikes my hands and face

    Thank you for all of the helpful information. I will get the thermostats. Any other advice is greatly appreciated!

  14. #9
    Telling it like it is! Deborah's Avatar
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    Re: My baby ball python strikes my hands and face

    Quote Originally Posted by brambow View Post
    I am not sure about her weight but she is about 12 weeks old. I handle her 3 or four days a week, but not more than five minutes. She is in a 30 gallon tank with two hides. She alternates between the warm one and cool one. She eats a hopper every week. The first one I gave her, she kept striking and missing, but since then she gets it on her first try. She is fed in a container other than her tank. My other baby is in a twenty gallon tank and I was thinking of switching them but am hesitant to do so without really bleaching out the tank. Or I could get her a smaller one of her own. Again I am new to this. her tank is only heated by a heating pad stuck under the tank. It cane with the tank. Should she have more heat than this? I was told no, but need some expert advice! I would post a picture of my setup but can't figure out how to do that.
    I highlighted your issue move her to a 10 gallons or 6 quarts tub.

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    Re: My baby ball python strikes my hands and face

    Thanks for all of the suggestions. Blossom hasn't struck at me for over three weeks. Or anything other than her weekly mouse. The suggestion that worked really well was to cover her with a little cloth while holding her with my hand in my lap. Now I don't even cover her and instead of freezing in strike position she is starting to crawl a little in my hand. Also holding her for a while. Thanks again.

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