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Old 10-09-19, 08:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Extremely defensive zebra carpet, advice?

So a few months back I purchased a hatchling zebra carpet python. Currently she is in a 10 gallon aquarium with a screen lid, and I have most of the screen covered to maintain humidity. She has eaten once a week without fail and is always eager for food. Her humidity sits around 40 percent and her hot end has an ambient temp of 88-92F degrees with a basking perch measuring about 95F degrees. Cool end is generally in the low-to-mid 70s.

I can put my hand in the cage without incident and she doesn’t bite, but whenever I attempt to handle her I get bitten several times. It doesn’t hurt or anything but I don’t want to stress her out. The last month or so I have avoided handling her as I recently moved apartments and wanted her to settle in. The last week I recently started handling again, sometimes just placing my hand in the cage and other times trying to handle her, always getting tagged in the process. Should I handle her more? Or less? I feel as though there’s a fine line between stress and “socialization”. I know snakes don’t necessarily become socialized in that capacity, I suppose “tolerant” is a better description. My one main concern is that, when she is handled, her vent seems to bulge and prolapse and she always urinates or defecates. Prior to handling and shortly afterwards, her vent looks totally healthy. I’m just a bit concerned with getting her acclimated without causing undue stress and would like some advice.
It’s worth noting that I’ve raised a spotted python from a few months of age to about 5yrs old to date; not a total novice but definitely can learn more.
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Old 10-10-19, 04:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Extremely defensive zebra carpet, advice?

your young carpet sees you as a predator when you reach down over the top of it. your heat signature is giant, and you don't smell like a rodent- conclusion? "this thing is gonna eat me!" it's gonna try to bite, pee, poop, etc on you defensively in order to save itself. young carpets are notoriously bitey, but as they get some size on them, and you are consistent w handling, they typically get better. that said, i've had some carpets that were just jerks their whole life and would try to bite be any chance they could. but, that can be said about most species.

you might try using a small cage hook to lift it out of the enclosure and then transferring to your hand. I never stick my hand directly into my snake enclosures. also, at some point you may want to look into a pvc type enclosure w sliding/hinged doors. something like AP Cages or Boaphile.
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Old 10-10-19, 09:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Extremely defensive zebra carpet, advice?

Yeah I figured it was mostly due to her being a flighty baby. Is the thing with the vent any cause for concern do you think? And how does the husbandry sound?

And yes, once she gets bigger I will get her a better enclosure. I was just trying to avoid splurging on expensive enclosures that she will soon outgrow anyway. I have my spotted in a 3.5x1.5x1.5 enclosure made out of melamine with sliding glass doors that has worked wonders and I am planning on getting a larger version with more height once the carpet has grown up a bit. Between now and then I was thinking of using aquariums/Rubbermaid bins. I took a similar approach with the spotted python while he was growing up
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Old 10-10-19, 10:34 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Extremely defensive zebra carpet, advice?

The difference in my reptiles responses to me changed a lot when they went from top entry containers to front entry. You might consider converting your 10 gal tank to front entry. This can be DIY or just buy one of the kits available. The premade kits are still cheap compared to buying a pricey PVC enclosure. It's just an idea. Plenty of people do fine with top entry, but for me the front entry was a vast improvement.
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