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  1. #1
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    Rookie need advice

    So after a few months of research I decided to give a ball python a try got a little female pastel lesser. Had here for about a week let her get used to her new tank for a few days now Id like to start handling her but as soon as I walk in the room she starts striking at the air even starts shaking her tail like a rattler. I have her in a 30g glass tank with a hide. I just recently got out of the cichlids hobby so I have tanks from 10g up to 250g. Is her attitude normal or Im I doing something wrong? Do I just push through and start handling her? Any advice is appreciated..

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    Re: Rookie need advice

    Welcome to the forum RC. I'd suggest holding off on handling her at all until she's had a little more time to settle in and eaten 2-3 times consecutively. I'm not sure how old or large she is but new snakes can sometimes be a bit shy and defensive for the first couple or few months. You said she's in a 30g with one hide. I'd have 2-4 hides in there along with some floor coverings. How are you heating your enclosure and what are your temps like? Once your husbandry is dialed in accurately and she's eaten a few times the rest is pretty easy.
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    Re: Rookie need advice

    I have lots of fish tanks as well, but they are not really appropriate for ball python. Balls hate open space they want to be completely hidden in a dark place. Fish tanks are too open the snake feels vulnerable and will strike. This scenario will likely cause the snake not to eat. Don't handle until a few feedings. Get a tub , or puts tons of cover and hides.

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    Re: Rookie need advice

    Thats pretty normal. The bp I got in November took over a month to stop defensive striking whenever anyone so much as walked by. Make sure your temps and humidity are dialed in, as well as plenty of hides so he/she can choose what thermogradient they need.

    I placed my tank in the quietest room, my bedroom, where there wouldnt be a ton of commotion, but he could see me coming and going without bothering him. It helped him to stop seeing me as a threat. He is now very quiet and tame around everyone.

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    Re: Rookie need advice

    Ok thanks!! Ive got it pretty dialed in I think? hot side about 92 and the other side about 80 I bought a thermostat and ceramic heater humidity about 50%. I believe shes really young shes probably about 15. Coconut fiber water dish and some logs. I was supper excited to start this new hobby and Im just frustrated shes so aggressive. My buddy bought one at the Same time same place pretty exact set up and his is mellow.. thank you so much for the help!

  8. #6
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with covering the sides, back & underneath a tank with scenery & then material behind that to also insulate the tank, providing the privacy desired
    + enhanced energy efficiency too. More than one way to house a snake... And to help contain the humidity, you only need to cover most of the screen top with
    any material that air doesn't go thru, thus mimicking the greatly reduced air-flow in the professionally-made plastic enclosures that many swear by. As long as you
    end up in the same "ball park" with respect to the right temps., humidity, & appropriate furnishings (especially hides that feel cozy to the snake), you'll be fine.

    I'd keep the highest temp. at 90* or below, just in case the reading is a little off...you don't want to over-heat a snake, they can get neurological damage as well as "burns".

    Snakes do have their own personalities: usually patient handling will overcome all but the feistiest. But first, patience while they settle in...eating a few times first before any handling is the best way to go, because handling causes them stress & stress can be an appetite-killer. Snake that refuse to eat are not fun.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-13-2020 at 09:32 PM.
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    Thanks everyone I have the sides and the back of the tank painted black.. always did this with my fish.. Ill get a tub in a heart beat if thats best but I also made a plexiglass top with only about 5 inches of screen on one end to try to keep moisture but also so it could breath.. I thought I did my research but there is something to be said for real life experience.

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    Also probably goes without saying but she wont eat. The breeder I got her from said she was taking f/t and gave me a couple packs of what she was eating when should I offer her food again?

  13. #9
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Re: Rookie need advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Rc916 View Post
    ... as soon as I walk in the room she starts striking at the air even starts shaking her tail like a rattler...
    First off, please understand that snakes see motion very well & they think either "Prey!" or they think "Predator!" They Do Not recognize us visually, & since we're so big, we are classified as a probable predator heading their way, hence the striking & rattling to scare you off. But they don't actually know what we are until we get close enough to fill in the clues: they LEARN to recognize our touch (but a new snake cannot do that yet, & it takes time for them to learn we are safe), they LEARN our scent (again, a new snake has no reference to go by), & for BPs (or other snakes with heat-sensing pits), they recognize us partly by our body heat which so far is still "scary" to her.

    Do NOT take it personal...it's not. Snakes are not domestic animals, they RELY on instincts to survive, & for me, the fun part of keeping snakes is communicating to our snakes that we are safe to hang out with. IF we are patient & considerate, most snakes "get it" & become great pets, but they don't all take the same amount of time: partly that's due to genetics, but also I suspect some is due to experience. It is very frightening for a snake to come thru the pet trade, especially if they are shipped also.

    Try to imagine being a snake & suddenly your whole world that you knew disappears & you land somewhere else...& then here comes this huge creature... Many people only think in terms of their fear of snakes, but WE are very scary to THEM...especially because they're in a new environment. In the wild, they learn their way around....where to hide & be safe, but now, everything is new and nothing feels safe any more.

    A frightened newly-acquired snake is not going to eat. She needs time to settle in, in this case probably 2 weeks+ and do not try to handle her until after she is eating, preferably at least 3 times at normal intervals* before you proceed with any sort of interaction. (How old is this snake? or what size?)
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-13-2020 at 11:13 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

  14. #10
    Registered User Bogertophis's Avatar
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    BPs are "ambush predators"- they prefer to lie in wait at night (dim light!), usually from a place of cover (peeking out of their hide), so when you see this behavior, for maybe a couple nights in a row, you can figure it's time to thaw a rodent & offer dinner (using tongs, & try to blend into the "background" or you'll scare her into refusing...move slowly & as little as possible, & if she grabs it, don't move for as long as you can...until she's swallowing. Yes, I'm serious, many fearful snakes will drop their food & flee if they notice us very much, & from your description, I'd guess yours may be "one of these".

    For when she's "ready":
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-13-2020 at 11:19 PM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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