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  1. #1
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    Question Are these new behaviors concerning or am I just being paranoid?

    Hi all,

    For a bit of context, I have a nearly 5 yr old T+ Albino Blood. I got her young and she seems like an overall healthy, stress-free snake. She never misses a feeding and has never had any issues with her food, she drinks regularly, normal bowel movements, good weight and muscle, no mites, no wheezing ect... I keep a close eye on her environment as far as humidity and temp. go. She's active and curious at night and rests during the day, never strikes or hisses when being handled and is over all calm and curious.

    So, she seems, as I said, a healthy snake and has been that way as long as I've had her.

    But very recently (about the last couple of weeks) she's been behaving differently at night, just new behaviors I don't see her typically exhibit and its kinda making me concerned.

    1) She's seemed extremely restless in the evenings. She does laps around her enclosure, swims around in her bowl a bit, goes into her hides, comes back out, over and over again. Her tongue is flicking the entire time and she goes around and touches everything. And she does it till morning too. She's been active in the past but not to this extent.

    2) She keeps pokin' around the top of her enclosure for long periods of time, which again she hasn't done before so it makes me wonder if she's stressed about something I'm just not noticing?

    3) She's been moving her head and neck strangely. Before anyone becomes alarmed, no she's not stargazing. Her head isn't going up and back for long periods of time and she's not having issues keeping balance. But for some reason, she'll lift her head up and move it around to sniff things, but when she does her head moves in a sort of twitchy or jerky motion. It looks somewhat mechanical and robot-like if that makes sense. Her head also seems to bob and shake sometimes as well. She also does this thing where she contracts her neck into an S shape for a minute, and then she starts squeezing and contracting the muscles in her neck so hard that she starts to shake. She stops after doing that for a minute and then hangs out for a minute, and then repeats the whole cycle.

    The last thing is what concerns me the most because I've just never seen her move like that. Anytime she's roaming around and looking at things, she's been pretty fluid and smooth about it. But now she tenses up like that a lot and it just looks so harsh and uncomfortable.

    So yeah, this may all be nothing and I'm just being a typical worried snake owner (I've had a few snakes and other critters but not enough to call myself an expert). If however, anyone has any ideas on anything or notices something I haven't, any advice would be welcome. Or the assurance that its nothing to be worried over.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Re: Are these new behaviors concerning or am I just being paranoid?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpookySnakes View Post
    She's been moving her head and neck strangely. Before anyone becomes alarmed, no she's not stargazing. Her head isn't going up and back for long periods of time and she's not having issues keeping balance. But for some reason, she'll lift her head up and move it around to sniff things, but when she does her head moves in a sort of twitchy or jerky motion. It looks somewhat mechanical and robot-like if that makes sense. Her head also seems to bob and shake sometimes as well. She also does this thing where she contracts her neck into an S shape for a minute, and then she starts squeezing and contracting the muscles in her neck so hard that she starts to shake. She stops after doing that for a minute and then hangs out for a minute, and then repeats the whole cycle.
    That would concern me too with all the chatter about neurological diseases affecting pythons. A video of the behavior would be helpful. You describe the behavior very well, but I hesitate to reassure you without seeing the behavior for myself. This thread has instructions on how to post video.

    As for the increased activity, pics of your set up along with your temperature and humidity readings would help us identify any issues that may be distressing your snake. For instructions on how to post pics, see this thread.
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  4. #3
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    Re: Are these new behaviors concerning or am I just being paranoid?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpookySnakes View Post
    ...
    But very recently (about the last couple of weeks) she's been behaving differently at night, just new behaviors I don't see her typically exhibit and its kinda making me concerned.

    1) She's seemed extremely restless in the evenings. She does laps around her enclosure, swims around in her bowl a bit, goes into her hides, comes back out, over and over again. Her tongue is flicking the entire time and she goes around and touches everything. And she does it till morning too. She's been active in the past but not to this extent.

    2) She keeps pokin' around the top of her enclosure for long periods of time, which again she hasn't done before so it makes me wonder if she's stressed about something I'm just not noticing?

    3) She's been moving her head and neck strangely. Before anyone becomes alarmed, no she's not stargazing. Her head isn't going up and back for long periods of time and she's not having issues keeping balance. But for some reason, she'll lift her head up and move it around to sniff things, but when she does her head moves in a sort of twitchy or jerky motion. It looks somewhat mechanical and robot-like if that makes sense. Her head also seems to bob and shake sometimes as well. She also does this thing where she contracts her neck into an S shape for a minute, and then she starts squeezing and contracting the muscles in her neck so hard that she starts to shake. She stops after doing that for a minute and then hangs out for a minute, and then repeats the whole cycle.

    The last thing is what concerns me the most because I've just never seen her move like that....
    First off, as Homebody suggested, seeing this ourselves would help us, & FYI, I have no experience w/ blood pythons- hopefully a member who does will also comment soon.

    BUT, to me it sounds like her restlessness might just be seasonal & have to do with her level of maturity (readiness for breeding).

    Also, as far as a snake that twitches or vibrates their neck when reaching out to sniff things: it's not as though our snakes do chin-ups all day- & sometimes it's just some muscle weakness (like when snakes 'periscope' & do similar shaky movements simply because they're reaching outward), or possibly she did something (when you weren't watching) to cause some muscle soreness or even a bit of arthritis, & maybe it will improve in time. If you're really concerned, a vet visit might help you sort that out. She might have just pulled a muscle or something? And how's her sheds? Any chance she has retained eyecaps?

    ***Is there any reason to think this could be some sort of illness? ***Have you gotten any new snakes lately? ***If so, have you completely quarantined them properly so that any pathogens they may have been harboring (without showing symptoms themselves) did not spread to any other snakes you have, such as this one?

    IF this is your only snake & you aren't handling other snakes (like in pet stores or expos) & then coming home & possibly spreading contagious diseases to this snake, or taking this snake elsewhere for others to handle, then there isn't much chance it's something "she caught"- see?
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 09-20-2022 at 09:44 AM.
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    I would double check all your temps and make sure there's not a stuck eyecap on her but my guess is she is just restless. Possibly a substrate she could dig into or change of cage decorations and hides might help. Are there other snakes around she may be smelling or other pets around the cages? I have one blood who tends to be very active and odd compared to the rest as far as wrecking paper, flipping bowls, cage cruising.

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    Thanks for the replies! I will try to get some footage of her moving weirdly when I can, she's hiding under a dish for now so I don't think I'll be able to get anything tonight.

    To answer the questions about shedding and stuck eyecaps, her last shed was normal and came off pretty clean, and I think her eye caps are okay? Or at least I don't think its a stuck eyecap problem due to humidity... The reason I'm not completely sure is because nearly as long as I've had her one of her eye's has been... weird. Her left eyecap is somewhat grey and dented, and its been like this for years. And I thought, like most, it was just some kind of retained eyecap. I spent a lot of time, messing with humidity and upping it a lot, trying to give her baths and trying to see if I could rub it off her eye at all (she's not headshy and completely calm with me messing with her face a bit). I did that for a very long time and it's never changed, its always been grey and dented.

    She drinks water very, very regularly, and the humidity is as high as it can be in her tank without it making her ill. Almost all her sheds have been normal and easy. So, at this point really don't think it has to do with humidity or hydration. My sister's boss, who runs one of our states herp centers, even took a look at it for me and she was stumped.

    And to answer why I haven't had her looked at by a vet yet is simply because, theres no exotic vets near me so I would definitely need to plan ahead to go. That and I know it wont be a cheap trip, and currently I'm trying to deal with my horses vet bills from a damaged ligament so... I'm trying to keep the expensive vet visits limited to one animal at a time, unless it gets really bad of course.



    To answer the question about her enclosure, its not the best right now I will admit. I'm in the process of building her a new one with about 10 sq ft of floor space to accommodate her since she's getting "large and in charge" now. Currently, she's in an old fish tank I've had for years that has about 6.5 sq ft of floor space for her to move around in. I've covered 3 of 4 sides with fabric and the top is half covered with mesh and half with aquarium glass which keeps the humidity in pretty well considering the dry climate I live in. I'm building the new pvc enclosure now though, and it will open from the side rather than the top. I'm making her a sort of pool as well, with its own filtration system and plenty of space to swim and soak in since she does that so often. None of that last part is particularly important to this conversation, but I'm too excited to not share my plans lol.


    Anyways, as far as being concerned with her getting any kind of illness from another snake or herp or anything, I'd say thats slim to none. I've helped out some friends recently with their animals (a red tail boa, some geckos, a tegu...) and I've been around to hold and check out a lot of the herps at that herp center my sister worked at. But I've always been extremely cautious with how I handle all the different animals, especially since I was at the herp center so much. Using gloves, washing my hands, keeping things clean, separate and safe. She also only shares the house with a cat and some fish. So, again I don't think she's gotten anything from another herp.



    I also never considered it could possibly be a muscle weakness thing or new behavior do to any kind of breeding/mating preparation behavior. I've never been interested in breeding snakes so I don't know much about that.

  9. #6
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    When you can, it would be a good idea for her eye to be seen by a qualified veterinarian with lots of snake experience. This may help: https://arav.site-ym.com/search/custom.asp?id=3661

    BPs are somewhat prone to dehydration & it often shows up in their their large eyes. Dented eye caps indicates dehydration- it may have been in her past, as it sounds like she has a well-stuck eye cap (or multiple layers), from your description. In no case should you try to remove them yourself- it's a very delicate procedure, if it can still be done safely- it sounds like she's had this for a long time. I'd ask the vet (ahead of time) how many times they've treated a similar problem (successfully).

    With your helping at a herp center & with friends animals, I wouldn't rule out something contagious, unfortunately- since you didn't mention changing clothes & showering before getting near your own snake- with some things, handwashing & gloves may not be enough. Diseases can be shared to other herps, even when the carrier appears perfectly healthy. Sure hope it's nothing like that though.

    And obviously, my comments are not intended to be any sort of diagnosis- just helping you "brainstorm" the possibilities here, from the limited information given & not even seeing what your snake is doing.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 09-21-2022 at 01:02 AM.
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    Re: Are these new behaviors concerning or am I just being paranoid?

    Of course of course, I truly do appreciate any kind of advice or different perspectives. I'll try to look into the eye thing at some point, I just haven't because she doesn't seem to be affected by it currently. That doesn't mean it can't become a problem of course.

    The handling thing happened like a couple years ago though, since my sister no longer works at that facility I haven't been there in a long while. And the last herp I handled was a couple of leopard geckos owned by a friend. Could she get something and appear normal for a while and then suddenly show signs of something contagious now?

    And an update on the weird movements, seemingly out of spite and to make me look like a liar, she's stopped the weird movements and being extra active. She's back to hiding under her dish and coming out for her normal checks and water... I guess I'm just gonna have to watch her for now and see if it comes back. I'll certainly be thinking over all the suggestions and ideas everyone else had here.

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    Re: Are these new behaviors concerning or am I just being paranoid?

    Quote Originally Posted by SpookySnakes View Post
    ...The handling thing happened like a couple years ago though, since my sister no longer works at that facility I haven't been there in a long while. And the last herp I handled was a couple of leopard geckos owned by a friend. Could she get something and appear normal for a while and then suddenly show signs of something contagious now? ...
    Sure, you bet. Some things have a long incubation time (though probably not over a year?)- that's why keepers do long quarantines in the first place. So as not to put their entire collection at risk from one newly-acquired animal.
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 09-23-2022 at 09:49 AM.
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