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  1. #1
    Registered User Z.rip's Avatar
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    Becoming defensive out of no where

    Hey everyone, this is my first post so I hope itís in the correct section

    got my first BP about 6 months back, a ~1 year old male.
    he seemed healthy, hasnít refused a meal, good sheds, me and my wife would handle him couple times a week at night around the same time(9pm)
    All was fine when out of no where about 3 weeks ago he got an attitude. Nothing has changed, temp has been with in spec on both sides, I have a misting system so even on days where we work late his tank is at a good humidity level, havenít changed around his enclosure, nothing.
    I went to pull him out and he stuck at me. I decided to leave him alone, and would give him a few days and try again, the next time he struck at me 4 times. I have a front opening enclosure so Iím not coming from above, but everytime I lift his hide, he doesnít tuck in a ball he is ready in a strike position.
    I feared that maybe he was having issue digesting all of his last meal from a few weeks back, so I gave him a warm tub to soak, and he stayed very stiff the whole time pretty much. After removing him I placed him on the ground and laid near so I wouldnít seem like a threat and he seemed to be calming down but then went back to pissed mode.
    Next I tried feeding him, and first he struck at me cause thatís our new game, but next he hit the FT rat, coiled then let go and went back to defensive mode.
    tonight I brought him out, I have recently started to use a hook to get him out, he didnít stike at me today, but he was pretty stiff, no tongue flick, and wouldnít get in a ball or move while on the ground just in strike position. I put him back and oddly he didnít go in either hide he just stayed in the middle of his enclosure staring at me and stayed for a bit before after like 15 made his way in his hide.

    so Iím kinda stumped. I just went in checked on him(12am) and he was out of his hide looking around so I think I will try feeding him again tomorrow, so it will be another 3 days before I try to handle him again.
    any ideas on what might be his issue?

    thanks

  2. #2
    BPnet Lifer KMG's Avatar
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    Have you checked on him and tried to take him out during the day? Maybe he'll be more agreeable. My GTP is a good boy during the day but at night strikes at everything that moves at night.

    Or maybe he needs to go up a size in feeders?
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  4. #3
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    I just experienced this myself. On a friday evening, I was cleaning and picking up used paper towels on the floor and put them in the bin, I didnt realize that I left a glass terrarium door open and it was head level high. When I stood back up, My head hit the door, and it fell apart making a very lound sound and there were glass shards everywhere. No snakes were harmed by glass, they were nowhere near the glass shards. I spent the whole night removing the glass shards from the floor. Next day was feeding day and 2 tame snakes that i have had the longest bit me. One just struck and pulled back, one bit me and coiled my entire hand and would not let go, I had to go to the sink and softly pour water on her head so that she would let go. Another snake went off feed entirely for a few days. It is crazy to think that the loud sound of glass breaking for a split second could casue such stress on these animals.

    Anyway, there is a youtube video by justin kobylka about taming snakes. Basically u should grab them from behind and then put your palm on top of their heads just for a couple seconds, and they would pull back and not strike for the next few hours. Works like magic for me.
    Last edited by JAGpenguin; 07-17-2021 at 10:34 AM.

  5. #4
    BPnet Lifer KMG's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming defensive out of no where

    Quote Originally Posted by JAGpenguin View Post
    I just experienced this myself. On a friday evening, I was cleaning and picking up used paper towels on the floor and put them in the bin, I didnt realize that I left a glass terrarium door open and it was head level high. When I stood back up, My head hit the door, and it fell apart making a very lound sound and there were glass shards everywhere. No snakes were harmed by glass, they were nowhere near the glass shards. I spent the whole night removing the glass shards from the floor. Next day was feeding day and 2 tame snakes that i have had the longest bit me. One just struck and pulled back, one bit me and coiled my entire hand and would not let go, I had to go to the sink and softly pour water on her head so that she would let go. Another snake went off feed entirely for a few days. It is crazy to think that the loud sound of glass breaking for a split second could casue such stress on these animals.

    Anyway, there is a youtube video by justin kobylka about taming snakes. Basically u should grab them from behind and then put your palm on top of their heads just for a couple seconds, and they would pull back and not strike for the next few hours. Works like magic for me.
    Snakes do not hear so I doubt that loud noise had anything to do with it. I also doubt the vibration had anything to do with it.

    Knowing you have other snakes now my mind jumps to a possible breeding situation. As in they are all feeling frisky.

    But then I'm just guessing. I obviously do not have the complete picture not being there.

    Covering a snakes head will work, but not always.
    Last edited by KMG; 07-17-2021 at 02:19 PM.
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  7. #5
    BPnet Senior Member EL-Ziggy's Avatar
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    Re: Becoming defensive out of no where

    I’d make sure to tap him with the hook every time you want to handle him. Most of my snakes have a pretty strong food response once the enclosure doors open but once I tap them with the hook they snap right out of it and they’re ready to be handled. Only one of them, my scrub, has ever tagged me outside of the enclosure.
    Last edited by EL-Ziggy; 07-17-2021 at 07:25 PM.
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  9. #6
    BPnet Veteran nikkubus's Avatar
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    He is probably just now getting to the point that he is comfortable enough to try and be defensive in that manner instead of ball up. Leaving him alone when he did it the first time probably reinforced the behavior, because no matter what we feel about getting them out, they would prefer to be left alone. "Bite = get left alone? Okay then I'll keep biting." Now you have to reverse this and get him to realize biting does not in fact get him to be left alone. You can hook train him as EL-Ziggy suggested or practice picking him up from behind if you aren't too worried about taking a bite. I don't use hooks on BPs aside from pulling eggs, but many people do because it makes it easier. The type of enclosure you have may make a hook necessary if there isn't a good access point too.
    7.22 BP 1.4 corn 1.1 SD retic 0.1 hognose

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  11. #7
    Registered User Z.rip's Avatar
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    Thanks for the recommendations(I know it’s been almost 3 months haha) we started to go in the right direction, but still kind of a pain. I have been taking him out and will hold for about 30 mins tops and the whole time he goes back and forth from defensive to hiding, hasn’t struck at me but I learned some techniques to move their attention away from me when defensive. I got a couple more snakes since this all started so I haven’t been trying to handle as much since the eastern indigo is alway in a good mood thus far.
    I recently also got all new enclosures for everything, BP is now in a 4x2x2. I also put his cage the highest on the stack so the kids walking around wouldn’t stress him out. But not much difference. I installed cameras in the cages and he is still active at night. He had a good shed. Idk, maybe his personality changed, maybe my one reaction the first time he try to tag me taught him.
    tonight I tried to feed, he struck at it 2x but never coiled, just like “back away I’m a big tough guy” strike.

    I’ll try to see how he likes being handled during the day, thank you for that recommendation, I might also try having his light turn off sooner and sooner to slowly adjust the day night cycle so I’m not waking him up.

    I doubt this has anything to do with it, but I figure ill mention it, this all started when I brought a blue tongue skink home. is it possible that the skink is giving off a smell that is making him uneasy? He was in quarantine and there is zero sign of any sort of illness or mites so it shouldn’t be anything like that.

    Thank you to everyone for the recommendations
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 10-03-2021 at 10:18 PM. Reason: re-worded so post is without "censored"

  12. #8
    Registered User Bleh's Avatar
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    Sounds like it's a food thing...

    Once he's out, he relaxes and doesn't try defending himself but when he's in his enclosure, he's striking at any heat signature, r.e. your hand, but not the hook without a heat signature!?!?!

    My breeding female is mad for food at the moment, had struck at the heat signature of my hand once this week, and even last night after she smashed a medium. Her feeding response is so acute right now, when I checked on all my fed BP's a few hours later to make sure they had eaten, she swiftly came out of her hide, where she was ambush ready and struck at the glass where I held the torch close to it.

    Unsure of your location, but where I live, temperatures are dropping and humidity is rising (slightly - usually fairly humid in the UK anyway) and this can influence their eating habits, especially as they get older.

    Just guesstimating here, but at circa. 1 year old, he could quite happily take a smaller sized weaner but maybe he'd like to try his chances on a larger sized weaner if he's grown on enough?!

    To finish, you've already been offered some great advice by some very experienced handlers here and ones I am actively trying to learn from daily so no doubt you're in the right place to help you and your little dude live his best life.

    Good luck
    I'll probably forget by the time you've read this...

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