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Old 07-27-18, 09:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Aggressive Hog Island Boa

The first week I brought home my pair of BCIs the male seemed very skittish but was fine to handle. The second week while I had him out he struck at me. The following weeks he became more and more scared and striking more and more.


Last week I took him out for feeding and in his tub I could hear him loudly hissing non stop. I fed him F/T and he defensively struck the mouse. I just left it in and closed the lid and eventually he ate it.

He always hides and doesn't come out to explore except at night, and when I come in he coils very frightened. Meanwhile the female is always out and about and very friendly. The male is so frightened he even attempted to shed inside his big smooth hide. I thought maybe he was just super scared because he was about to shed but even after its worse than before.


I had him out last night and he was extremely aggressive. When I say aggressive, I don't mean defensive. Ive never heard or read about this but when I put him out on the floor a few feet in front of me he would come straight at me then attempt to strike. I would move him, or myself to a new location and he would continually come straight towards me and again try to strike me. This happened a dozen times before I just put him back.

What in the world would cause a snake to come at a predator and strike rather than try and flee? What can I do to fix this? I really don't want a snake that is this horrible to deal with. We did notice his eyes seem to pop out of his head way more than the female. Could he have something wrong with him due to being such a crazy morph with all kinds of wacky genes bred in?
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Old 07-27-18, 11:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Aggressive Hog Island Boa

Why are you taking him out to feed him? He may be anticipating food.
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Old 07-27-18, 12:13 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Aggressive Hog Island Boa

Definitely not. If I even get close to the tank when he actually comes out he hisses and strikes the glass. I’m taking him out so he doesn’t get impacted from the substrate and so the mouse doesn’t leave scent in the enclosure.
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Old 07-27-18, 12:32 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Aggressive Hog Island Boa

If your husbandry is on point the chances of impaction are pretty small. I feed all my snakes in their enclosures and have never had any impaction issues. Feeding in the enclosure is less stressful for the snake and the keeper. How much Have you tried hook training? Sounds like your snake is still settling in. Let him eat 2-3 meals inside his enclosure undisturbed and then start your handling sessions.
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Old 07-27-18, 01:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Aggressive Hog Island Boa

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Originally Posted by Wildernessmedic View Post
Definitely not. If I even get close to the tank when he actually comes out he hisses and strikes the glass. I’m taking him out so he doesn’t get impacted from the substrate and so the mouse doesn’t leave scent in the enclosure.
I see. The snake sounds nervous, or could most definitely still be anticipating food if the only times you handle him would be to transfer to a feeding container and then offer food, but without knowing the whole situation that may or may not apply. El Ziggy gave some great suggestions. Like him, and like most keepers/breeders, everybody here gets fed in the enclosure. Impaction is an extremely remote risk and only a risk with very few substrates, none of which a boa should be kept on in the first place, and a scent being left behind from feeding would be pretty negligible and would not be enough to cause a feeding response without other factors at play, but I can understand your concerns. Tap training with a hook is a good habit, so perhaps look into that. For what it is worth, I have had multiple boas that would strike at the front of the cage if I was in the room doing maintenance or feeding other species, but once touched with the hook a few times, they knew it was me coming in and not food and I never got nailed doing that. Hopefully he'll settle down for you soon or you'll figure something out that works better than what you're doing currently.
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Old 07-27-18, 02:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Aggressive Hog Island Boa

I agree with Ziggy, the snake seems to still be acclimating to his new surroundings. Also, I agree about letting him get a few meals in him inside his enclosure. I feed my snakes inside the enclosure. There are absolutely zero benefits of using a feeding tub.

Feeding in a separate tub
A) increases chances of a refusal due to stressing the snake prior to feeding
B) increases the chance of the snake regurgitating it's meal due to being moved and stressed after eating
C) increases the chance of you getting tagged, since the snake is still in feed mode when you try to move it back

The "food aggression" thing is a myth, proven false over years with thousands of animals.

I have NEVER been tagged inside any of my snake's enclosures. Never even struck at. I HAVE been tagged outside the enclosure.

If you're concerned with substrate impaction:
a) nobody cleans their food in the wild
b) if you're still concerned, lay a paper plate or cardboard down (not paper towel) even though the snake will likely drag the prey wherever it wants.


Hopefully this will mellow him out.

I just read Andy's reply too, lots of good info in there as well. Hook training will likely be your best bet.
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Old 07-27-18, 03:38 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Aggressive Hog Island Boa

So I’m not sure if I mentioned it but I’ve had him for 3-4 months. Is it possible he’s still adjusting? The female has been fine.

I had an RTB get impacted years ago with some wood chips. But these are on peat so I’ll stsrt feeding him inside.

I take him out other times besides feeding. I try the hook tap stuff and it he immediately goes back to strike.


Any ideas why he would seem to chase me? I know snakes pretty much never do that. I’m baffled and kind of feel like he’s got something off with him. Maybe from the genes of so much morph breeding?
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Old 07-29-18, 01:02 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Aggressive Hog Island Boa

It sounds absolutely terrified, a snake following you like that is one that feels there is no escape, and instead chooses to fight.

I'd advise to stop handling for a couple of weeks to get him to destress as much as possible. If he's in a high foot traffic area, try to move him to a quieter area, or at least black out his enclosure so he can't see.

From there, just take things slow, and keep in mind he may just not be suited to being handled. Handle for a few minutes at a time, and don't force him out if you can help it. Try for a bit to just change his water and check for poop without touching him or lifting his hide or anything. Sometimes, if they see they won't be cornered and captured every time they see you, they'll lower their defenses when you're around. At least so long as you keep your hands off them. lol If he seems to get more comfortable (doesn't come out immediately to strike or hiss, etc.), then try to go in for a regular handling session.

Get a hook to tap/rub when you need to take him out, and maybe invest in some gloves.

Some snakes also just don't come around. I have a female jungle I've had for about 2 years now. She still doesn't fully trust me, but she's comfortable around me so long as I'm not physically touching her. She has gotten better about that, though. I try not to take her out unless I must, and if I can I try to gain her approval first. It's a slow and lengthy process, but more humane for the snake for them to retain their sense of autonomy.

Of course, you could force handling on him and flood him to the point he may stop handling, but that isn't guaranteed to work, and is incredibly stressful for them. If you let up on handling them, they will generally relapse. You're more likely to permanently have a docile snake if you gain their trust and maintain it, and they'll maintain that docility even if you fall behind on handling.
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Old 08-23-18, 05:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Aggressive Hog Island Boa

Poor guy, sounds like he may have issues that go beyond normal snake ones. Our hog was abused prior. We can't use a snake hook at all without getting bit. He has finally calmed down after 6 hard months. He would his at me Everytime I opened the tank. We feed out of the tank. From personal experience with our 3(now 4) they got more aggressive with in tank feeding. (My ball almost bit my husband's face when he opened her tank to take her out). I would suggest working with him a lot. Maybe toss a light blanket over the tank during the day or when traffic is heaviest in his area. Luscious is now a big baby, but it took a lot of TLC and patience. Is he a morph or pure? I know it's hard to find ones not mixed anymore. Just keep working with him. They are a great breed, and so attentive.
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