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  1. #1
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    Feel we are not making progress...

    So I got a ball python hatchling from a reputable breeder maybe 5 weeks ago.
    The hatchling is about 3 months old now, 120-ish grams, feeding aggressively on FT rat fuzzies. Good eater. Humidity and temps good.

    He was a jerk from the beginning, very tense, nervous. Watches me like a hawk. Struck at me even when changing water/spot cleaning. Sleeps under hides in strike position. As long as I open the cage, watches me intently. He comes out and explores every night though, he seems happy and content in his cage, so long as I'm not bothering him.

    He peed/pooped on me while handling once. He struck at me the other day while I was changing his water, drew blood. When i'm handling him, if he gets close to anything- even inanimate objects- he'll strike.

    I'm trying to handle him using the blanket method, at first he would always ball up, but now he'll explore around and tongue flick, but he freaks out easily.

    Will he ever just chill the heck out? I have 2 other balls who were not like this. I hate that I'm nervous even to change his water.

  2. #2
    Registered User Moose84's Avatar
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    Re: Feel we are not making progress...

    What type of enclosure is he in?

  3. #3
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    It's an hatchling you were lucky with the other 2 it's actually a pretty common thing to have a defensive hatchling and it usually disappear around 250 to 500 grams granted the husbandry is optimum, the stress is limited and the food is adequate.

    It's about patience and realistic expectations.
    Deborah Stewart

  4. The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Stewart_Reptiles For This Useful Post:

    dr del (11-04-2019),EL-Ziggy (11-05-2019),GoingPostal (11-05-2019),Moose84 (11-04-2019),Sonny1318 (11-04-2019),wnateg (11-04-2019)

  5. #4
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    He's in a 37 qt tub with lots of stimulation and hides.

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    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Re: Feel we are not making progress...

    Quote Originally Posted by siwueofk View Post
    He's in a 37 qt tub with lots of stimulation and hides.
    Put him in a 6 quarts tub 12 at the most and limit your handling.
    Deborah Stewart

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    GoingPostal (11-05-2019),Moose84 (11-04-2019)

  8. #6
    Registered User Moose84's Avatar
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    Re: Feel we are not making progress...

    Quote Originally Posted by siwueofk View Post
    He's in a 37 qt tub with lots of stimulation and hides.
    Way too big. Even when I keep them in appropriate sized tubs some can be nippy. If you bought him from a reputable breeder then he was in a rack and is more than likely stressed to the max. Not surprised at his behavior.. Follow debs advice and downsize his enclosure.

  9. #7
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    I just have him in one of these...
    https://www.target.com/p/sterilite-3...s/-/A-51872701

    I'm not sure if I can fit 2 hides and a water bowl in a 12 qt tub though... Cause I keep my hognose in a 12 qt, it's quite small.

  10. #8
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    I just realized I don't have a heating pad small enough for a 12 qt tub, so that would be an additional $15-ish dollars plus $7-ish dollars to buy the tub. If I kept him in his current enclosure, would he eventually chill out? Or do you guys strongly recommend I make the investment.

  11. #9
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Re: Feel we are not making progress...

    Quote Originally Posted by siwueofk View Post
    I just have him in one of these...
    https://www.target.com/p/sterilite-3...s/-/A-51872701

    I'm not sure if I can fit 2 hides and a water bowl in a 12 qt tub though... Cause I keep my hognose in a 12 qt, it's quite small.
    2 hides fit in a 12
    quarts, your hides need to be small and tight, even if only one fits if it is the right hide it will work.

    The goal is security which means tight quarter that are very cluttered.

    12 quarts with 2 hides that fits a BP up to 300 grams and a water dish, simple, secured, and cluttered.
    Last edited by Stewart_Reptiles; 11-04-2019 at 08:01 PM.
    Deborah Stewart

  12. #10
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Feel we are not making progress...

    Quote Originally Posted by siwueofk View Post
    So I got a ball python hatchling from a reputable breeder maybe 5 weeks ago.
    The hatchling is about 3 months old now, 120-ish grams, feeding aggressively on FT rat fuzzies. Good eater. Humidity and temps good.

    He was a jerk from the beginning, very tense, nervous. Watches me like a hawk. Struck at me even when changing water/spot cleaning. Sleeps under hides in strike position. As long as I open the cage, watches me intently. He comes out and explores every night though, he seems happy and content in his cage, so long as I'm not bothering him.

    He peed/pooped on me while handling once. He struck at me the other day while I was changing his water, drew blood. When i'm handling him, if he gets close to anything- even inanimate objects- he'll strike.

    I'm trying to handle him using the blanket method, at first he would always ball up, but now he'll explore around and tongue flick, but he freaks out easily.

    Will he ever just chill the heck out? I have 2 other balls who were not like this. I hate that I'm nervous even to change his water.
    To him (to his instincts), you're a giant & likely a predator...of COURSE he's afraid & defensive (& NOT a "jerk"). And a snake that is kept in a small enclosure most of the
    time will take some time before the "outside world" becomes less scary. You'd be the same way if you were kept in one room, then suddenly allowed out. Nearly all snakes
    calm down, but all are individuals, just like us & just like other pets...the more patience you have & the more experience he gets, the better he'll be. But since he's young,
    you first need to concentrate mostly on his eating & growth...handling is not a priority, but his health is. Be happy he's an aggressive feeder...in fact, I typically prefer the
    hatchlings that bite...'cause it's easier to pacify them with meals, lol. It's no fun when snakes refuse to eat.

    To avoid bites when you reach in to change the water bowl or spot-clean, just block his view by keeping a piece of cardboard (or a ping-pong paddle works great) between
    him & what you're doing. Snakes naturally feel afraid (from predators) when held out in the open, & safer when cuddled next to us, or sheltered by something else. Don't
    know why you're nervous...but it's normal for snakes to be afraid of anything that approaches him, & afraid of unknowns. He has no forum to consult with as you do.
    And remember that snakes do NOT recognize you visually...they're better at scent & touch cues. If you use scent & touch cues to identify yourself whenever you approach
    him, in time he'll learn that your approach is not to be feared. Try to see this from his point of view.
    Many friends in low places...

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