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Thread: MBK snake bite

  1. #1
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    MBK snake bite

    Just a few minutes ago I was handling my MBK. Everything seemed fine at first, he was relaxed, just cruising around my hand/arm for a few minutes. Soon enough he found my wrist to be quite delicious and decided to take a bite. I felt a light pressure, and next thing I know heís latched on.

    This is the first time Iíve ever been bit by a snake so I was a little surprised and didnít know what to do. I waited for a little and eventually he let go himself. I placed him back into his enclosure but he kept trying to bite me. Even through the glass.

    This is very odd as Iíve never experienced such a switch in behaviour. Iím also a little confused as parts of it seems like a feeding response, while the other seems like a defensive response.

    I looked into his enclosure and noticed a small damp spot around the area I picked him up in. I feel like this might have been a warning sign that I missed. I also didnít really pay attention to the moments before the bite.

    Iím wondering if this is more of a defensive response, or a feeding response. The prolonged bite makes me think itís feeding, but the continuous biting afterwards, and the damp spot makes me think not. Iíd also really love some advice on how to handle him moving forward since I feel like this is a memorable experience that both of us will not forget lol.

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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    Is there any chance he smelled other animals (like prey) on you? I've kept MBK's in the past & never had a problem with them doing this, but I've also kept other kinds of king snakes (California kings etc) & first off, most king snakes are "always ready to eat" & 2nd, some are more "open-minded" than others about what is edible. In the wild, many king snakes will also eat carrion & I had an albino Cal-king that once tried to eat her own tail when she was quite old...I don't know if she was getting senile or what? And she was well-fed, too.

    How old is your MBK? or how big? How long have you had? Any chance he's under-fed? MBK's are probably my favorite kind of king snake- they seemed less prone to stuff like this.

    Was he ever fed live rodents (especially from questionable sources) that might have given him parasites? If so, he might have good reason to be hungry (& might need de-wormed).

    Sometimes a snake that's confusing you with "dinner" can be dissuaded by making sure you smell of something less appetizing (also that's harmless to the snake). Might try rubbing some minty mouthwash on your hands & arms- or wash your hands & arms thoroughly with a fragrant soap before handling. If you haven't been handling him much, you might need to "socialize" more often with him so he really knows you & knows you aren't his dinner...silly snake!

    I've seen a rosy boa do this same thing to a friend of mine, during a snake lecture we were giving jointly- it wasn't his snake though, it belonged to the nature museum. Anyway, my friend saw what the snake was about to do (the rosy boa kept pushing slightly here & there on his hand, testing & "looking for the head to grab", lol) but my friend just ignored it & let the snake bite him so he could show our audience just how big of a deal this bite WASN'T. The tiny teeth marks were nothing to my friend anyway- he was diabetic & had to inject himself all the time.

    I'm not sure what you're getting at regarding the "damp spot"? He might have drank water & spit some out when you picked him up?
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: MBK snake bite

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    Is there any chance he smelled other animals (like prey) on you? I've kept MBK's in the past & never had a problem with them doing this, but I've also kept other kinds of king snakes (California kings etc) & first off, most king snakes are "always ready to eat" & 2nd, some are more "open-minded" than others about what is edible. In the wild, many king snakes will also eat carrion & I had an albino Cal-king that once tried to eat her own tail when she was quite old...I don't know if she was getting senile or what? And she was well-fed, too.

    How old is your MBK? or how big? How long have you had? Any chance he's under-fed? MBK's are probably my favorite kind of king snake- they seemed less prone to stuff like this.

    Was he ever fed live rodents (especially from questionable sources) that might have given him parasites? If so, he might have good reason to be hungry (& might need de-wormed).

    Sometimes a snake that's confusing you with "dinner" can be dissuaded by making sure you smell of something less appetizing (also that's harmless to the snake). Might try rubbing some minty mouthwash on your hands & arms- or wash your hands & arms thoroughly with a fragrant soap before handling. If you haven't been handling him much, you might need to "socialize" more often with him so he really knows you & knows you aren't his dinner...silly snake!

    I've seen a rosy boa do this same thing to a friend of mine, during a snake lecture we were giving jointly- it wasn't his snake though, it belonged to the nature museum. Anyway, my friend saw what the snake was about to do (the rosy boa kept pushing slightly here & there on his hand, testing & "looking for the head to grab", lol) but my friend just ignored it & let the snake bite him so he could show our audience just how big of a deal this bite WASN'T. The tiny teeth marks were nothing to my friend anyway- he was diabetic & had to inject himself all the time.

    I'm not sure what you're getting at regarding the "damp spot"? He might have drank water & spit some out when you picked him up?
    Thinking about it now, maybe he could have smelt my bpís as I was cleaning their enclosure, and did hold them for a bit. I donít know if this could have been a trigger.

    My MBK is about a year and a half, and Iíve had him for 3 months now. I feed him f/t pinkies every 6-7 days. Last time he ate was this last Sunday. There could be a chance heís underfed. The lady I got him from said she feeds him a pinkie every 7-8 days. Iím estimating heís currently about 2 and a half to 3 ft long.

    I only handle him maybe once a week, or every other week. Sometimes Iím holding him quickly while I clean up some waste, but thatís about it. Is this maybe not enough socializing?

    Iím thinking the damp spot might be him peeing? As a way to ward me off when I was picking him up. Although there was no solid urate with it. So Iím not 100% sure what the damp spot was from.

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    Re: MBK snake bite

    Quote Originally Posted by Faith.luu View Post
    Thinking about it now, maybe he could have smelt my bp’s as I was cleaning their enclosure, and did hold them for a bit. I don’t know if this could have been a trigger.

    My MBK is about a year and a half, and I’ve had him for 3 months now. I feed him f/t pinkies every 6-7 days. Last time he ate was this last Sunday. There could be a chance he’s underfed. The lady I got him from said she feeds him a pinkie every 7-8 days. I’m estimating he’s currently about 2 and a half to 3 ft long.

    I only handle him maybe once a week, or every other week. Sometimes I’m holding him quickly while I clean up some waste, but that’s about it. Is this maybe not enough socializing?

    I’m thinking the damp spot might be him peeing? As a way to ward me off when I was picking him up. Although there was no solid urate with it. So I’m not 100% sure what the damp spot was from.
    A king snake that's a year & a half old needs to be eating much more than pinkies! Are you talking about pinkie mice or rats? He should be eating hopper size mice or small adult mice- yikes, he's just hungry!

    But since he's been underfed for so long, make a gradual transition to make sure he can digest okay- you don't want him barfing up his meal due to insufficient digestive enzymes- which requires good nutrition (enough proteins etc) to produce. So start with fuzzy mice- several per meal- then after a few meals, upsize again to a hopper. Feed weekly. No wonder he tried to eat your arm, poor snake is starving. He might have smelled your BP on you too- king snakes eat other snakes, along with the typical rodents etc.

    He could use some more "socializing" too once he's better fed-but please do work on feeding him first- pinkies have very little nutrition. The more mature rodents offer more minerals (bigger bones) as well as more protein. So don't push too much activity until he gets more food in him- he needs to build up strength.

    Usually snakes don't just pee "water"- their urates are usually whitish & chalky (soft & moist but not liquid, though there can be some liquid too) but if that's what he's been doing, it's because the pinkies he's been eating are inadequate & mostly water.

    King snakes normally out-grow being fed pinkies in a few months- as they grow big enough to eat fuzzies, that's what they're fed, & so on up. Any similar king snakes I've raised have been eating adult mice by the time they're 1.5 years old or 3' long.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 03-03-2021 at 02:33 AM.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
    Eric Hoffer (1902 - 1983)

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    Re: MBK snake bite

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogertophis View Post
    A king snake that's a year & a half old needs to be eating much more than pinkies! Are you talking about pinkie mice or rats? He should be eating hopper size mice or small adult mice- yikes, he's just hungry!

    But since he's been underfed for so long, make a gradual transition to make sure he can digest okay- you don't want him barfing up his meal due to insufficient digestive enzymes- which requires good nutrition (enough proteins etc) to produce. So start with fuzzy mice- several per meal- then after a few meals, upsize again to a hopper. Feed weekly. No wonder he tried to eat your arm, poor snake is starving. He might have smelled your BP on you too- king snakes eat other snakes, along with the typical rodents etc.

    He could use some more "socializing" too once he's better fed-but please do work on feeding him first- pinkies have very little nutrition. The more mature rodents offer more minerals (bigger bones) as well as more protein. So don't push too much activity until he gets more food in him- he needs to build up strength.

    Usually snakes don't just pee "water"- their urates are usually whitish & chalky (soft & moist but not liquid, though there can be some liquid too) but if that's what he's been doing, it's because the pinkies he's been eating are inadequate & mostly water.

    King snakes normally out-grow being fed pinkies in a few months- as they grow big enough to eat fuzzies, that's what they're fed, & so on up. Any similar king snakes I've raised have been eating adult mice by the time they're 1.5 years old or 3' long.
    Okay, this is really great to know, thank you. Iíve been giving him mice pinkies, which is probably even worse based on what youíve just told me I feel so bad for starving him. Ill definitely work my way to getting him up to par and make sure heís eating properly.

    Thank you for the help.

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    Re: MBK snake bite

    Sounds pretty obvious NOW that itís a mixture of him being hungry ( maybe starving) and you having a the smell of other snakes on your hands ..

    I was photographing all my snakes a few years ago .. my son was visiting and he had a decent camera and setup .


    Anyways after doing all the bigger snakes we came to my lovely, calm and placid Florida King ... within 20 seconds of him being out he was lashing and thrashing all over the place !!

    All because the camera table has the smells of about 18 different snakes ( and about 10 different species)

    It was scary .. I remember screaming like a girl as he kept lunging at me


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    Re: MBK snake bite

    Quote Originally Posted by Faith.luu View Post
    Okay, this is really great to know, thank you. Iíve been giving him mice pinkies, which is probably even worse based on what youíve just told me I feel so bad for starving him. Ill definitely work my way to getting him up to par and make sure heís eating properly.

    Thank you for the help.
    Never touch any other snakes or animals before handling King snakes



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    If he has been starving for a while there is a good chance he is a lot smaller than others his age, and he might need to be on fuzzies a while till he grows a bit more. I'd start weighing him regularly the day before feeding him to monitor his growth, at least until you get a handle on how much and how fast he really needs.
    7.22 BP 1.4 corn 1.1 SD retic 0.1 hognose

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