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  1. #1
    Registered User Valyndris's Avatar
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    Ball python twitching when I touch him

    I'm so worried about my little Crowley, so he shed last night and took the rest of the night off, he seemed normal, he has a bit of blood in his shed but that always happens and I hear that is normal. Today I took him out and had him in his room for a couple hours and he seemed fine. I then took him to hang out on the couch. At first it seemed like he was enjoying his massages (I don't rub hard or anything), he was even waggling his tail. It seemed like touching his neck (he doesn't usually mind getting his head or neck touched) at a certain spot made him go turbo, he would move really fast. I thought maybe he was hurt so I was barley touching him while petting him to see if he had any sore spots. He'd start moving fast anytime I touched his neck and he started twitching when I touched a spot on his back.

    I necked him and he did a double twitch, like a jerking movement and he jerked pretty hard. I am so worried that he is hurt, nothing looks swollen or feels any different. I tried to get it on camera but of course he only did the twitching off camera. I put him back for the night as I don't want to hurt him anymore if he is hurting. Could it be sore muscles from being in a hide for over a week while in shed and not stretching? I was able to neck him a few more times with no twitching. He went around my hand and suddenly twitched really hard, his whole front of his body moved like half a foot away when he twitched.

    Is there something really wrong with my baby? I'm just so worried, I've never seen him behave like this before. He normally loves my massages, it looked like he did at first till the twitching. Again, I don't massage hard enough to hurt him in any way and I've been doing it for years with no problems. I hope my little Crowley is okay.

  2. #2
    Registered User Valyndris's Avatar
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    Would also like to add, he hasn't eaten since July 17th, he started his winter fast early I think because he stopped eating when we got a new AC, I accidentally let the place get a bit cold one day. The temps today were normal, my hands weren't cold to make him twitch or anything. He did have his humidity at 70% for the duration of his shed and his hide was near the fogger so it was wet in there too but I figured it would be perfect for him as he was in shed mode. I didn't see any signs of RI, his nose was fine.

    He was making some light hissing sounds that sounded more like exhales or quiet hisses when I was touching the spots that were making him twitchy.

  3. #3
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    It does sound as if he's feeling some pain, possibly, from what you describe, and you know your snake better than any of us. Maybe he pulled a muscle on one
    of his "missions"? Or your "massages" are not as soft as you say? No, I don't think he got sore from laying around in his hide...that's what snakes do all the time.

    It's rather unusual for a snake to be "wagging their tails" too, unless it's a member of a species that does caudal luring (like copperheads or green tree pythons do).
    I sure hope he's OK...bummer that he got chilled & hasn't eaten in a while too.
    Many friends in low places...

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  5. #4
    Registered User Valyndris's Avatar
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    Re: Ball python twitching when I touch him

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    It does sound as if he's feeling some pain, possibly, from what you describe, and you know your snake better than any of us. Maybe he pulled a muscle on one
    of his "missions"? Or your "massages" are not as soft as you say? No, I don't think he got sore from laying around in his hide...that's what snakes do all the time.

    It's rather unusual for a snake to be "wagging their tails" too, unless it's a member of a species that does caudal luring (like copperheads or green tree pythons do).
    I sure hope he's OK...bummer that he got chilled & hasn't eaten in a while too.
    I hope he just pulled a muscle and hopefully he will be okay soon. Crowley does waggle his tail when he really likes massages but today's waggle seemed a lot faster and more like he was waving his tail around to possibly be able to push or latch on something. He's in his hide now and looks comfy.

  6. #5
    Registered User Valyndris's Avatar
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    So I went through my videos I took of Crowley last night and here are some to show how he was behaving (I can only upload one video per post so I will be posting in 3 different comments). First video, he seemed normal, he's usually extra bouncy and happy after a shed but he was moving pretty fast compared to usual.

  7. #6
    Registered User Valyndris's Avatar
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    The second video is when I started to notice something was off. It shows how I massaged him, at first I thought he was waggling his tail because he was enjoying his massages like he normally does but he was waggling a lot harder than normal and as you can see when I stroke him, he does give a few little twitches. I didn't get any of the big hard twitches on camera, just these little ones.

  8. #7
    Registered User Valyndris's Avatar
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    The third video is when I was really starting to worry, he had started doing his twitching and jerking, off camera of course. He was moving really fast like he wanted to get away from the pain or something. At this point I was only petting him very softly as I didn't want to hurt him more if he was injured. Hope these videos help to determine what's wrong.

  9. #8
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Well the good news is that pain seems unlikely, especially in a BP as well-cared for as yours anyway. But snakes have various ways of telling us to bug off and I
    think his twitching might be telling you that he's had enough of whatever you're doing. Some snakes, like bull or gopher snakes, are really good at actually shoving
    with their mid-body & this is used at various times: a wild snake may not bother to try to bite you, especially if you approach gently from their mid-body (since head
    & tail approaches trigger a more immediate alarm response) but instead will shove you aside. The same snake uses this technique in burrows to trap & kill entire
    families of rodents before they can escape, so this muscle control serves a dual purpose anyway.

    But I think this is something else...how can I put this? I think he's trying to tell you that your attention is a little too much. I must preface this by saying that while
    I've bred various snakes, I've not bred BPs, but either way, when snakes get together, a good many of them do some body rubbing, with the male sliding over the
    female to interest her in cooperating. If for any reason a snake isn't interested, they say so by moving quickly away or by shoving off the other's actions. Now you
    have Crowley for a "pet" but he doesn't quite understand that: your petting & attention might be stimulating him in a mating sort of way, but at the same time, you
    aren't his type & he's trying to tell you that, ahem... I think he's trying to find a mate on these "missions" & you keep turning up, trying to "lead him astray"?
    Many friends in low places...

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  11. #9
    Registered User Valyndris's Avatar
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    Re: Ball python twitching when I touch him

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Well the good news is that pain seems unlikely, especially in a BP as well-cared for as yours anyway. But snakes have various ways of telling us to bug off and I
    think his twitching might be telling you that he's had enough of whatever you're doing. Some snakes, like bull or gopher snakes, are really good at actually shoving
    with their mid-body & this is used at various times: a wild snake may not bother to try to bite you, especially if you approach gently from their mid-body (since head
    & tail approaches trigger a more immediate alarm response) but instead will shove you aside. The same snake uses this technique in burrows to trap & kill entire
    families of rodents before they can escape, so this muscle control serves a dual purpose anyway.

    But I think this is something else...how can I put this? I think he's trying to tell you that your attention is a little too much. I must preface this by saying that while
    I've bred various snakes, I've not bred BPs, but either way, when snakes get together, a good many of them do some body rubbing, with the male sliding over the
    female to interest her in cooperating. If for any reason a snake isn't interested, they say so by moving quickly away or by shoving off the other's actions. Now you
    have Crowley for a "pet" but he doesn't quite understand that: your petting & attention might be stimulating him in a mating sort of way, but at the same time, you
    aren't his type & he's trying to tell you that, ahem... I think he's trying to find a mate on these "missions" & you keep turning up, trying to "lead him astray"?
    Thanks for reassuring me, glad it's probably not an injury. I will of course stop petting/massaging him if he twitches like this again. That's the first time he doesn't want to be touched like that tough. Glad Crowley is willing to "say" no rather than choose me as a mate like my parrot does. Will see how he behaves tonight and give an update.

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    Re: Ball python twitching when I touch him

    I think their skin is more sensitive right after shed. I have noticed this with my snake also. And balls or any snake probably don't like when you mess or especially grab their neck. That massage might feel like your getting ready to grab it by the neck. That will cause a jerking back movement, they are protecting their head area.

    Having it wet in an enclosure is not really a good thing IMO. Even during shed time. That is the problem with foggers. IMO you might be asking for trouble by
    having one. But we'll see i guess.

    I don't think many people have foggers on here but I could be wrong, that would be a good thread question for you to ask. In the husbandry section.

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