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  1. #1
    Registered User punkrawkah's Avatar
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    Question Is there a difference between a defensive bite and a feeding bite?

    This post is to help calm my wives nerves.

    So, as some of you have seen I made a thread about my new 900g fire fly female. Tonight she got me!!! I'm not scared to get bit and I was kind of expecting to get bit because I'm impatient. A lot of the research I have done does say the only way to calm a snake down and tame it is to handle it. A lot of you told me to just let it be. I'm a bit conflicted by this.

    The family I got this snake from had this snake in a giant aquarium but fed it in a 36 gallon tote. I house all my snakes in 32 gallon totes so I set her up a tote and ever since then she has been extra aggressive. Every time I walk up to the tote she hunkers down and gets that look in her eye like she want to eat my face. Tonight I decided to test my luck...

    I opened the lid and sat with her and just used my hook to keep her head away but she was a bit twitchy. Not at all scared or trying to run. So, I picked her up. with out hesitation she curled around and grabbed a hold of the knuckle on my wrist. Then curled up like she was trying to kill my wrist. The bite wasn't bad and little to no pain. WHAT A RELIEF!!! It almost seemed like I needed to finally take a bite from a bigger ball python. The baby balls are one thing witch isn't nothing at all when they bite. The big ones though will draw blood.

    My conclusion is. This snake is in constant feed mode because I have her in a tote. Correct me if i'm wrong, but a defensive bite would have been a strike and no hold. A feed bite is a bite and hold. Am I right?

    Tomorrow after work, I will be putting her into an aquarium to see if she settles down.

    I know im probably driving some of you a bit nutty but this really is the only place for making well rounded conclusions for Ball Pythons. I Like this forum a lot no matter how much i agree or disagree with how other people do things. This place is gold.


  2. #2
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a difference between a defensive bite and a feeding bite?

    Yes, there is a difference between a food bite and a defensive bite.

    However, it's not as simple as bite and wrap versus bite and retreat.

    It's not clear to me whether you are feeding her in her enclosure or not, or more importantly what you are feeding, how often, and whether there was "rat scent" in the room - i.e. you were feeding other snakes tonight as well.

    My boa Behira nailed me when she was young in a total food response bite. She bit, but let go immediately, realizing I wasn't a rat. I've since hook trained her and my other boas and my carpet python.

    How are you using the hook? Are you consistent? Hook = handling. No hook = food. Every time. I can show you a link to the hook training thread I created on here a while ago, if you are interested.

    Did the bite happen at night? Do you feed at night? I feed all my snakes in a darkly lit room and with enclosure lights off. They know it's food time. I almost never handle after dark, unless it's an emergency.

    Day = handling and hook.

    Night = Food time and no hook.

    Having said all that, it sounds like a food bite.

    What are you feeding her and how often?

    You mentioned aggression as a cause. Keep in mind snakes aren't aggressive. They are defensive or hungry when they bite. She was either scared or hungry. In this case, she sounds hungry.

    Any info you can give would be helpful regarding the above questions.

  3. #3
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Sounds like a feeding bite to me...congrats. Bite with no hold is typically defensive, though you might have an exception where a hungry snake realizes just how
    bad you taste (compared to "filet of rat") very quickly and releases. But it sounds like your girl was eager for a taste, lol. It does seem as if she associates the tote
    with dinner.
    Many friends in low places...

  4. #4
    Registered User punkrawkah's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a difference between a defensive bite and a feeding bite?

    Same my boa would try to eat me if it smelled food on me. I've never had that problem with ball pythons though. I even know a few who breed there rats in the same room as there snakes.

    I do not feed my snakes in there enclosures because I have had snakes that get excited and lunge when I open there enclosures. Saying that I have never had any of the horrible things that people think happends when you feed that way. In over 15 years raising snakes I have never had a regurge or been bitten after they eat.

    Same with my boa sometimes she would miss and grab my hand but always let go when she realized I wasnt the food.

    I'm new to hooks. I got it because I figured it was a good time to learn since I have 10 snakes now. Tonight I was just using it when I was petting her to keep her head away and down when she looked like she wanted to explore outside of her tote.

    It was at night. But I dont have a feeding schedual as far as day or night. It's just when ever. I try to feed everyone on the same day. I have 9 hatchlings under 200g and the fire fly who bit me is 900g.

    I feed her 55g frozen thawed rats. About every 5 to 7 days. Her previous owner would just feed her once a month and what ever was available at the pet store. They told me she wouldnt eat frozen but she takes frozen with no problems at all for me.

    Her last feed was friday Nov. 29th.

  5. #5
    Registered User punkrawkah's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a difference between a defensive bite and a feeding bite?

    I am interested in that link. Please share that with me
    Last edited by punkrawkah; 12-03-2019 at 01:30 AM.

  6. #6
    bcr229's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a difference between a defensive bite and a feeding bite?

    Quote Originally Posted by punkrawkah View Post
    I feed her 55g frozen thawed rats. About every 5 to 7 days. Her previous owner would just feed her once a month and what ever was available at the pet store. They told me she wouldnt eat frozen but she takes frozen with no problems at all for me.
    That's why she's hunting all the time. She was underfed for years, to the point now where it's ingrained that she better eat when she has the chance. This is a different attitude than you'd find from most BP's, which IMO are overfed in captivity.

    I have a rescue like this. He never refuses a meal and has taken prey that BP's aren't typically known for eating, such as chicks and rabbit kits, and yes if you are not careful when you first open his tub he will give you a nose piercing.

    Keep some white vinegar or sharp-scented (like lemon) hand sanitizer in your snake room and rub a bit on your hands before you handle this snake, and definitely do the hook training. You'll be teaching the snake that when it's touched in a certain way and it smells certain scents that it's not feeding time. I find the combo works very well with my adult retics, and you don't want to take a food bite from one of them.

    Finally, a 900 gr three year old female that suddenly starts receiving regular meals is likely to start a growth spurt. I would offer a medium rat every 10-14 days and see if her attitude doesn't change in a few weeks.

  7. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to bcr229 For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (12-03-2019),Sonny1318 (12-03-2019)

  8. #7
    Registered User punkrawkah's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a difference between a defensive bite and a feeding bite?

    Should I keep her in her tub? Or put her back into an aquarium?

  9. #8
    Registered User Moose84's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a difference between a defensive bite and a feeding bite?

    You seem to be feeding her the correct size prey and she doesn't have a problem eating so I would probably stay with the tub. If she's freaked out at all for security issues, going to the tank will only jazz her up more. I think now that you are feeding her properly, have her in the right environment and caring for her responsibly I would just give her a few weeks to settle in. If they aren't handled often at that weight they can still be bitey.. Some of the females I have purchased in the past for breeding plans at 600 grams plus have been mean as sin but they aren't used to being handled outside of cleaning their enclosures by the breeder. Sounds like your are kind of in the same boat even though she wasn't at a breeder.

  10. #9
    in evinco persecutus dr del's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a difference between a defensive bite and a feeding bite?

    Pssst! to bite club.

    We like to share pictures of the terrible carnage and life threatening injuries our danger noodles give us.
    Derek

    7 adult Royals (2.5), 1.0 COS Pastel, 1.0 Enchi, 1.1 Lesser platty Royal python, 1.1 Black pastel Royal python, 0.1 Blue eyed leucistic ( Super lesser), 0.1 Piebald Royal python, 1.0 Sinaloan milk snake 1.0 crested gecko and 1 bad case of ETS. no wife, no surprise.

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  12. #10
    Registered User punkrawkah's Avatar
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    Re: Is there a difference between a defensive bite and a feeding bite?



  13. The Following User Says Thank You to punkrawkah For This Useful Post:

    Bogertophis (12-05-2019)

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