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  1. #1
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    Have had ball python for 4 months, but he still strikes at me when spot cleaning?

    So I have 3 ball pythons, all aged around 6-7 months, males. Hot side temperature 88-90, cool side 80-82, humidity between 70-85% (I live in a humid area). Sheds are all good.

    All eat like pigs, literally never refuse meals. Active at night, friendly when handling.

    One of them though has been an anxious one from the start. He's come a LONG way with the handling (I used to have to use a hook), but now I can pick him up and he's very sweet when handling.

    However- and this was a problem before too- when I stick my hand in his cage to spot clean and change water, he strikes at me. He STILL does this!

    Should I accept that he's an anxious one? The other 2 snakes continue sleeping and don't give 2 craps when I do stuff in their cages. This one though will wake up and stare at me from his hide. It's been like this since day 1.

  2. #2
    Telling it like it is! Stewart_Reptiles's Avatar
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    Re: Have had ball python for 4 months, but he still strikes at me when spot cleaning?

    If fed appropriately than you are either looking at husbandry issue or over handling issues, some animals will be more tolerant than others.

    If you are looking at a juvenile this also comes into play some are more laid back than other but generally speaking until they hit 250/500 grams many will be defensive as they see you as a predator.

    BTW I would address that humidity issue constant high humidity level will create issues such as RI especially when combined with stress.
    Deborah Stewart

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    Craiga 01453 (01-12-2020)

  4. #3
    Registered User Lord Sorril's Avatar
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    Re: Have had ball python for 4 months, but he still strikes at me when spot cleaning?

    Are you feeding them all the same amount of food? That one aggressive snake may have a faster growth curve and want significantly more food than the other two.

    Of course I have a female that has tried to bite me every time I disturbed her for an entire year. We are on year 2 and she has toned it down to just hissing at me loudly (note defensive strike posture in image below)--I almost guarantee she would bite me as I took this photo (if I gave her the chance)

    *.* TNTC

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    Bogertophis (01-12-2020)

  6. #4
    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: Have had ball python for 4 months, but he still strikes at me when spot cleaning?

    Maybe it would less stressful for both of you to remove him when you do cage maintenance?

    Only a few of my snakes are left in the cage during cage maintenance, and it really depends on them at the time (their mood, body language, etc.).

    With many snakes, messing around in the tank when they are in there is a recipe to getting bit. Again, not a rule of thumb, but definitely snake dependent.

    99% of the time my larger boas are removed for cage maintenance. Not worth risking it and they are food driven.

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    siwueofk (01-12-2020)

  8. #5
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Here's an easy solution: if he's in his hide, just take a flat piece of cardboard & block his view. (lean it in front of the doorway to his hide)

    First off, it's pretty normal for some snakes to do this (& I'm assuming he isn't under-fed, as Lord Sorril suggested might be the case). Snakes feel threatened by
    our approach, simply because they're nearsighted & in the wild it's usually a predator coming their direction. This one is just more defensive...he's a snake, cut him
    some slack. Snake's best senses are scent & touch (also warmth detection if they have heat-sensing pits as BPs do), & when you reach in, he's hasn't yet had a
    chance to identify you.

    I would get nailed by some of my rat snakes if I just reached in, but I usually "give them my scent" first, then no issues. (I blow air across my hand in their direction
    & watch to see their tongue flicks to tell me they got the msg.- they literally back off their high-alert poses.) BPs don't use scent as well as rat snakes do though, so
    that may not work for your BP. We don't talk the same way to all the people we know, do we? So why do you think snakes should all understand the same message?

    Don't take it said he's fine when you hold just have to prevent him from feeling like he's under attack...don't barge in, block his view. Easy!

    Even if he's doing this out of hunger & assuming you are incoming prey (like my rat snakes do), blocking his view will allow you to do what you need to do without any
    negative consequences. (he won't learn to attack cardboard, lol, nor will he push it out of the way...snakes are funny like that...they accept what's in front of them)

    FYI- even with my hungriest rat snakes (the 2 adult Florida females that lay eggs every year), they're often up in their branches: I don't fully trust them to back off with
    scent only when they're due to feed, but if I identify myself by scent, then lay a cloth over them, they'll stay put while I change their water bowls or spot-clean. See
    what I mean? Tweak the way you communicate as needed...snakes are individuals too, just like we are. I don't get bites...I take a few seconds to communicate first.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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