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  1. #1
    Registered User Caali's Avatar
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    How to accustom an adult ball python to handling?

    So I‘ve had my ball python since he was 4 months old. I‘ve never really cared about handling him and therefore I left him alone most of the time. I only touched him when I had to take him out and that was not that often.
    Now I‘ve noticed that it really stresses him out and therefore I wonder if I could get him accustomed to it somehow, even if he is a bit older. I only want him to be fine with 5 minutes of handling at most.
    I have a snake hook that I use when I take him out of his terrarium. Does anyone have advice how I could get him used to handling and if it is possible.
    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited by Caali; 03-31-2021 at 12:03 PM.
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    BPnet Senior Member dakski's Avatar
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    Re: How to accustom an adult ball python to handling?

    Two things.

    1. I wouldn't use the hook to take him out. That can create pressure points and hurt him. I would use the hook to let him know you are there and not feeding him. You can tap him or gently rub him a few times to get that message across.

    2. Gentle and repeated handling should get him used to it. Start with 1-2 minutes for a few weeks (2-3 times a week), then go to 3-4 minutes, and then to 5-10 minutes.

    Most snakes do not "like" being handled, and BP's are prone to stress, but he should adjust with repetition and being gentle with him.

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  4. #3
    Registered User Hugsplox's Avatar
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    Re: How to accustom an adult ball python to handling?

    Quote Originally Posted by dakski View Post
    Two things.

    1. I wouldn't use the hook to take him out. That can create pressure points and hurt him. I would use the hook to let him know you are there and not feeding him. You can tap him or gently rub him a few times to get that message across.

    2. Gentle and repeated handling should get him used to it. Start with 1-2 minutes for a few weeks (2-3 times a week), then go to 3-4 minutes, and then to 5-10 minutes.

    Most snakes do not "like" being handled, and BP's are prone to stress, but he should adjust with repetition and being gentle with him.
    This^^

    The only thing I would add is when I go to handle any of my snakes, I wait until they're out. If my hognoses are buried in the substrate I don't dig them out, if the BP is in a hide, I don't go in after him, I wait until they're out before I try to handle. If they run from me, I leave them alone and try again some other time either that evening or another day.

    Remember that handling is for our benefit and not the animal's, they don't mind if you never touch them. So you want to make the process has stress-free as possible for them. Like dakski said above, he should adjuster with repetition, and you being really gentle with him. Be sure to support his entire body and hold him close to your body to help him feel secure.

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  6. #4
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    I agree with both posts above, & would add that when YOU relax, it helps your snake to relax. And when you remember that snakes feel exposed to predators

    when out in the open, then it makes total sense to cuddle them close to your body & sit down to relax with them for a bit- to give them time to feel safe with you.

    Snakes do learn their way around in nature- it's how they survive by knowing where to hide from predators & from bad weather- so they learn to feel safe with us

    too, at least most of them do, if & when you're patient & handle them gently. It's not too late either, & I believe it's better for our snakes to learn to feel safe with

    us- since they're stuck in captivity- than to live in fear of us lurking about. So & I've calmed both captive-bred snakes & wild caught rescues, btw- with patience.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 04-01-2021 at 10:34 AM.
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    BPnet Royalty Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: How to accustom an adult ball python to handling?

    As mentioned in the posts above really ..

    I just pick them up slowly and gently.. approaching from behind them ..

    Then I sit down and have the snake on my lap ... let it explore a little but keep bringing it back onto my lap .

    After a few minutes they quite often just settle down and curl up on my lap ... for as long as I want ..


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    Re: How to accustom an adult ball python to handling?

    Quote Originally Posted by dakski View Post
    Two things.

    1. I wouldn't use the hook to take him out. That can create pressure points and hurt him. I would use the hook to let him know you are there and not feeding him. You can tap him or gently rub him a few times to get that message across.

    2. Gentle and repeated handling should get him used to it. Start with 1-2 minutes for a few weeks (2-3 times a week), then go to 3-4 minutes, and then to 5-10 minutes.

    Most snakes do not "like" being handled, and BP's are prone to stress, but he should adjust with repetition and being gentle with him.

  11. #7
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    Re: How to accustom an adult ball python to handling?

    It helps in my experience to hold the snake from underneath and off the ground. let it get coil holds around your fingers/arms.
    If it feels like your a tree and secure, it should be fine.
    Give a little time and watch to see if it relaxes a bit and explores.
    If it does give it more branches (fingers/another arm) to move to
    I find on the lap is not he best. it makes them look for ways down. Stand up first, Be a tree.
    Laps can come later.
    Just my opinion, Kind of applicable to most snakes.
    Last edited by Ascended; 06-08-2021 at 04:31 PM.

  12. #8
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    Re: How to accustom an adult ball python to handling?

    I have the same problem with my BP, when I go to hold her, she can't wait to get out of my hands. I end up just putting her down somewhere as I don't want to force her to stay in my hands. Then even when I try to gently pick her up to go back in her home, she jumps like a human would if they don't see someone coming up from behind them and grabs them or yells something.

  13. #9
    BPnet Royalty Zincubus's Avatar
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    Re: How to accustom an adult ball python to handling?

    If you’re holding the Royal whilst standing or sitting it will always coil around or grip onto you tightly .. just to feel secure .

    As I mentioned previously if you want them to relax I find it’s best to just sit down with them on your lap ( or grandchild’s lol) .. they will then try and explore for a minute or two but I just keep ‘ushering’ them back and they just settle down quite content . Just don’t give them the chance to slither down the side of the settee !

    Notice this strategy doesn’t work with Corn or King snakes


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