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Old 03-31-20, 05:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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MBK taming advice

Hi all!
I'm new here but I joined to see if anyone had any advice on working with kingsnakes, particularly on getting them to stop chomping on your hand XD.

Jasper's my first snake and is a year-old Mexican black kingsnake. I've been handling him regularly since I got him in September of 2019. I take him out at least once every few days, but usually every day if I can. He's about a foot and a half long now and is still eating pinky mice.

My set up is a 15 gallon long with aspen bedding, a water dish, two cardboard tubes, a ceramic water dish big enough for him to soak in, and a half-log hide. He also has several branches to hide in and climb on. I have a piece of slate that I drop-feed him on. I usually feed him a mouse every 4-5 days. Should I try feeding more often?

He usually bites when I have him out and he starts to smell my hands. He never really strikes, just slowly opens his mouth and bites down on a finger or the side of my palm. Regular handling hasn't seemed to help, and I have tried washing my hands prior to try to get any scents off that he might want to eat. Until recently, he never struck at me defensively, but he's been doing so now when I walk past his cage. However, he's starting to stop that now so I think it might have been stress from moving back home from university.

All of this leads me to believe that his bites are food motivated, but I'm concerned about feeding him more often because of the fat content. He is very active and is constantly exploring/trying to get out when he is not in his tube. I'm wondering if this could be age-related and that he might settle down as he gets older with regular handling. Does anyone have any advice, or should I just settle myself with this nibble noodle the way he is?

Thanks!
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Old 04-01-20, 03:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

The snake might be stressed out because of how frequently you are handling him. Generally speaking, snakes are not very social.

Also, what are your temps?
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Old 04-01-20, 08:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

Feeding him more often is not gonna do anything. From what I can tell, your MBK associates you with food. Also, as mentioned above you might be stressing him out.
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Old 04-01-20, 09:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

At a year old a kingsnake should be eating much larger meals than a pinky mouse. Adult mice might even be appropriate at that age for some snakes. I would definitely start increasing prey size to fuzzies or hoppers.

Kingsnakes will eat anything in the wild. Rodents, birds, frogs, lizards, other snakes... they seem inclined to try to eat anything they come across.

I haven't worked with MBK's, but eastern kingsnakes and California kingsnakes generally tend to grow out of this. Some, of course, won't.
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Old 04-01-20, 09:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

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At a year old a kingsnake should be eating much larger meals than a pinky mouse. Adult mice might even be appropriate at that age for some snakes. I would definitely start increasing prey size to fuzzies or hoppers.

Kingsnakes will eat anything in the wild. Rodents, birds, frogs, lizards, other snakes... they seem inclined to try to eat anything they come across.

I haven't worked with MBK's, but eastern kingsnakes and California kingsnakes generally tend to grow out of this. Some, of course, won't.
Yeah, I was gonna say pinkys seem a bit small, but of course I wasn´t entirely sure. He´s probably just hungry.
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Old 04-01-20, 10:29 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

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Originally Posted by chairman View Post
At a year old a kingsnake should be eating much larger meals than a pinky mouse. Adult mice might even be appropriate at that age for some snakes. I would definitely start increasing prey size to fuzzies or hoppers.

Kingsnakes will eat anything in the wild. Rodents, birds, frogs, lizards, other snakes... they seem inclined to try to eat anything they come across.

I haven't worked with MBK's, but eastern kingsnakes and California kingsnakes generally tend to grow out of this. Some, of course, won't.
Completely agree here. Pinkies are WAY TOO SMALL.

A) your snake is hungry
B) you probably are over handling which also causes stress.

OP, can you also tell us about your temps in the enclosure?
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Old 04-01-20, 06:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

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Originally Posted by ClockwerkBonnet View Post
The snake might be stressed out because of how frequently you are handling him. Generally speaking, snakes are not very social.

Also, what are your temps?
I took him out today and he was great. I thought he might be stressed, but he has never behaved defensively towards me. The hot side is at 30C (86F) and 23 C (73F) on the cool side.
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Old 04-01-20, 06:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

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Originally Posted by dangernoodles View Post
Feeding him more often is not gonna do anything. From what I can tell, your MBK associates you with food. Also, as mentioned above you might be stressing him out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chairman View Post
At a year old a kingsnake should be eating much larger meals than a pinky mouse. Adult mice might even be appropriate at that age for some snakes. I would definitely start increasing prey size to fuzzies or hoppers.

Kingsnakes will eat anything in the wild. Rodents, birds, frogs, lizards, other snakes... they seem inclined to try to eat anything they come across.

I haven't worked with MBK's, but eastern kingsnakes and California kingsnakes generally tend to grow out of this. Some, of course, won't.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dangernoodles View Post
Yeah, I was gonna say pinkys seem a bit small, but of course I wasn´t entirely sure. He´s probably just hungry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by craigafrechette View Post
Completely agree here. Pinkies are WAY TOO SMALL.

A) your snake is hungry
B) you probably are over handling which also causes stress.

OP, can you also tell us about your temps in the enclosure?
I took him out today and he was great, very relaxed and explorative. I thought I should provide a little more information. My handling schedule is sometimes every day, but usually about every other day for 10-15 minutes or so. I only bring him out when he is out and exploring and actively trying to get out. My temps are 30C on the hot end (86F) and 23 on the cool end (73F).

For those saying pinkies are way too small, I should maybe elaborate that my age estimate for Jasper assumes he was born in late spring, making him almost a year old. I bought him in early September. I don't have his last shed to measure but he's about 2 cm in diameter at his very thickest. So correct me if I'm wrong but the pinkies he's been getting are not too small for him yet. I've attached a picture (Or tried at least). The dish he's in is 10 cm x 12 cm (4"x5") at its widest and longest.

Thanks guys
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Old 04-02-20, 02:27 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

Pinkys are too small for your MBK. I fed my kings pinkys for the 4-6 weeks after I got them as hatchlings. It's hard to tell exactly how large your snake is but it looks like it could eat at least a small adult mouse.
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Old 04-02-20, 02:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

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Originally Posted by EL Ziggy View Post
Pinkys are too small for your MBK. I fed my kings pinkys for the 4-6 weeks after I got them as hatchlings. It's hard to tell exactly how large your snake is but it looks like it could eat at least a small adult mouse.
10000000% agree.

Pinkies are definitely too small for a year old King.

Small adult mice are what I'm guessing too, but without the snakes size I can't be sure.
Also, pinkies have next to zero nutritional value since they are not developed and are primarily just water. So if the snake has been on pinkies it's first year then there's basically zero nutrition and only water in the snakes diet.

(FYI sheds are not an accurate measurement, they tend to stretch out a bit)
Getting an accurate weight of the snake would go a long way.

So, as I said before, your snake is hungry.
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Old 05-09-20, 03:03 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: MBK taming advice

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