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Old 04-27-17, 02:17 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

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You are making a lot of assumptions.
Nope, no assumtions made by me, just presenting a possibility... I bolded the word "if" for a reason. We simply can't assume good or bad without knowing more. I'd like to entertain you with the idea that you may be reading what has been written and making assumptions yourself, and that's ok.

Let's try to focus on helping out the OP further now that's out of the way. I have zero issues deleting squabble related posts and bringing this back in before it gets out of hand.
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Old 04-28-17, 02:48 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

Alright, first off, I ain't scared of the snake, and it ain't aggressive--I know what an aggressive animal's like. She's definitely defensive (as I stated before) however. Before the owner left she had already gone months without handling, and now it's up to like 7 months without any actual handling beyond stressing and sometimes lunging when a hand enters the tank.

Primary reason for coming here, really, was to ask about how to get a 6' long, old, seemingly perfectly healthy but not in any way accustomed to humans boa... used to a human. I see guides all over for babies, or for starting up again after a few weeks without handling a corn snake or the likes. This is not a little snake and I'd rather not actually upset it.

It was deciding that I want to completely clean the tank and replace the substrate that led me to this forum. If I've a snake, I wanna get it adapted to life as a a pet snake so it doesn't see me as some terrifying giant rummaging through/threatening her home. I take care of catfish, cichlids, and formerly an eel and grouper. That eel scared me, the boa does not.

My first inclination has been to toss a shirt or two in the tank to let her know my scent--works for other animals, surely it'll help a smell-reliant reptile? In addition, after a bit of that, probably don some leather gloves and layer a couple flannel shirts, and reach in slow, careful not to startle her. I've a 40 gallon plastic tote to transfer her into for tank cleaning once I can comfortably handle her.

I'm sure I could just grab and wrestle her if I really had to, but why needlessly stress and potentially injure a snake that's doing nothing but living and being (rightfully) suspicious of the large animal messing with her home? That's why I'm here. To do it right.



For pictures, check a/io6nq on imgur--won't let me post links or images.

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Old 04-28-17, 04:24 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

You could try tap training, tap the boa with a hook when you're not feeding and just offer food the other times. Many people do this with medium to large snakes to disassociate hands and food. If she is cage defensive like you say a hook will also help in removing her. Many people who have cage defensive snakes calm down once out of the cage.
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Old 04-28-17, 04:29 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

You need five posts to post pictures.

The t-shirt thing ain't gonna work--it's not a dog.

You're right, Wrestle it = more stress.

Go low, slow, from below or from the side...but if you're using an aquarium, nearly impossible, but doable.
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Old 04-28-17, 07:14 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

i would buy a snake hook and start tap training as soon as possible. Pull her out with the hook. Most snakes will stop the nipping once they are out of their enclosure. hope this helps.
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Old 04-28-17, 07:30 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

A hook, and begin tap training. Got it. Would never have thought of this. Effectively you're teaching it a signal specifically tied to handling and not feeding, aye? Like. Tap the edge of the tank, slide it open, and touch or lightly lift her with the hook, and reuse that routine every time?
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Old 04-28-17, 07:38 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

Touch/gently push the snake with the hook. Yes you're trying to associate your hand away from food. After nudging her then use the hook to remove her from the cage. Every time you're not feeding tap her, even if you're just changing water.
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Old 04-28-17, 07:50 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

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A hook, and begin tap training. Got it. Would never have thought of this. Effectively you're teaching it a signal specifically tied to handling and not feeding, aye? Like. Tap the edge of the tank, slide it open, and touch or lightly lift her with the hook, and reuse that routine every time?
Yes. You've got it.

Btw i only ment for you to give the snake away if their was no way for you to get over your fear. No hard feelings.
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Old 04-28-17, 09:00 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

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Yes. You've got it.

Btw i only ment for you to give the snake away if their was no way for you to get over your fear. No hard feelings.
I tell people similar all the time about fish. If you can't get a big enough tank, can't clean regularly enough, can't afford proper feed, won't do water changes, won't check quality, etc, etc... Gotta rule things out. You like that lionfish you bought but don't wanna have to wear elbow gloves to reach into the tank? Return it.

So I understand the sentiment. If you can't/won't care for something proper, you shouldn't have it. xD
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Old 04-28-17, 09:29 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

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I tell people similar all the time about fish. If you can't get a big enough tank, can't clean regularly enough, can't afford proper feed, won't do water changes, won't check quality, etc, etc... Gotta rule things out. You like that lionfish you bought but don't wanna have to wear elbow gloves to reach into the tank? Return it.

So I understand the sentiment. If you can't/won't care for something proper, you shouldn't have it. xD
You're now my favorite. I'm glad you understand. You should see the size of the minnows that are in our pond. They must have adpated. Because these arent your average minnow anymore. They are about 10 inches long and about 2 inches thick.
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Old 04-28-17, 10:13 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

I agree with the tap training method, either with a hook or with your hand/finger. I didn't see anywhere previous where it talks about frequency. You want to ensure that you're doing this frequently, say 3-5 times per week, about 10-15 mins at a time. If you do get bit, try not to pull away too. Keep a water bottle handy to spray in their face if he latches on and bites down, and don't reward him by putting him back in his enclosure.

I had a really hissy snake that took 2 weeks for her to acclimate to humans. 2 weeks of working with her daily. She's a boa, a rather large and older boa. She came from a possibly abusive background too. She hasn't bit once; has lunged, and done other stuff, but hasn't bit.

Good luck and keep us all posted.
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Old 04-28-17, 10:28 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

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Originally Posted by GyGbeetle View Post
I agree with the tap training method, either with a hook or with your hand/finger. I didn't see anywhere previous where it talks about frequency. You want to ensure that you're doing this frequently, say 3-5 times per week, about 10-15 mins at a time. If you do get bit, try not to pull away too. Keep a water bottle handy to spray in their face if he latches on and bites down, and don't reward him by putting him back in his enclosure.

I had a really hissy snake that took 2 weeks for her to acclimate to humans. 2 weeks of working with her daily. She's a boa, a rather large and older boa. She came from a possibly abusive background too. She hasn't bit once; has lunged, and done other stuff, but hasn't bit.

Good luck and keep us all posted.
Please don't ever attempt to tap train with your hand or finger. The whole purpose of tap training with a hook is to have the snake associate the hook with a warm hand coming in after for handling and not warm food. Using your hand defeats and goes against tap training entirely...it would actually be a fantastic way to get bitten. I'd also say that if you do get bit, put the snake back to reduce stress on both you and the snake and also so you can tend to the bite. Taking bites and continuing with handlling is fine with babies, but i'd suggest placing adults back when that happens.
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Old 04-28-17, 11:19 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

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A hook, and begin tap training. Got it. Would never have thought of this. Effectively you're teaching it a signal specifically tied to handling and not feeding, aye? Like. Tap the edge of the tank, slide it open, and touch or lightly lift her with the hook, and reuse that routine every time?
Yup. Just do it when you're in there for cleaning and water changes and the like.

Similarly I recommend doing something similar for feeding. Such as feeding ONLY at night. I only feed my snakes at night and never handle them so at night they sort of "turn on" and would be rather difficult to work with for cleaning. However, during the day they are quite easy going.
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Old 04-28-17, 11:45 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

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Please don't ever attempt to tap train with your hand or finger. The whole purpose of tap training with a hook is to have the snake associate the hook with a warm hand coming in after for handling and not warm food. Using your hand defeats and goes against tap training entirely...it would actually be a fantastic way to get bitten. I'd also say that if you do get bit, put the snake back to reduce stress on both you and the snake and also so you can tend to the bite. Taking bites and continuing with handlling is fine with babies, but i'd suggest placing adults back when that happens.
Tap training involves tapping the side of the tank to give the snake a cue that a hand is entering their enclosure. If the enclosure is closed, which is usually what's been recommended to me, simply tapping with your hand or a hook won't involve any biting from the animal. The idea is to give them a consistent trigger to let them know a hand, not food, will be entering the tank.

What you're describing is hook training, which involves taking the hook into the enclosure in order to handle the snake. If OP feels a bite is imminent, then yes, don't use your hand when trying to touch/handle the snake. But the 2 should not be confused.

For adult and baby boas, providing them their enclosure after a bite only encourages the behaviour. i.e. if they bite and are always put back into their enclosure, they will learn when they DON'T want to be handled, they can bite and be rewarded with solitude. There are ample cases where vets, herps, and breeders alike discourage this reward system. yes, it's scarier with older and large snakes (I have retics and burms, and it's very scary), but it also teaches a sense of acceptance between the snake and the handler, so that the snake understands the handler is in charge.
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Old 04-28-17, 12:20 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: So it seems I'm now taking care of a snake

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Tap training involves tapping the side of the tank to give the snake a cue that a hand is entering their enclosure. If the enclosure is closed, which is usually what's been recommended to me, simply tapping with your hand or a hook won't involve any biting from the animal. The idea is to give them a consistent trigger to let them know a hand, not food, will be entering the tank.

What you're describing is hook training, which involves taking the hook into the enclosure in order to handle the snake. If OP feels a bite is imminent, then yes, don't use your hand when trying to touch/handle the snake. But the 2 should not be confused.

For adult and baby boas, providing them their enclosure after a bite only encourages the behaviour. i.e. if they bite and are always put back into their enclosure, they will learn when they DON'T want to be handled, they can bite and be rewarded with solitude. There are ample cases where vets, herps, and breeders alike discourage this reward system. yes, it's scarier with older and large snakes (I have retics and burms, and it's very scary), but it also teaches a sense of acceptance between the snake and the handler, so that the snake understands the handler is in charge.
I don't know who told you the definition of "tap training" but there was a mix up. For tap training you are using an object (hook, stick, etc.) to gently touch or stroke the head, and hook training is getting a snake used to be handled completely with a hook, usually with hots or with other hands off species. What you are describing is just striking the cage or tapping the glass or maybe what a very small amount of people may call it but it's certainly notbthe intended use. Feel free to use the all knowing goole "tap training snakes" if you feel I lack the knowledge to back this up by all means.

As far as the handling tips go...go get nailed by a large constrictor and keep it out for a while and let me know how great that goes. It's fine and appropriate to take baby bites because it's no big deal and they'll learn you aren't a threat. They learn docility... what is and what is not a threat, not submissiveness from being handled. Snakes do not bite out of dominance so trying to establish dominance in the way you describe is going to do nothing. These are not mammals and shouldn't be treated as such. I'm all for debate, but you really shouldn't be telling new people this. If bitten by a large constrictor, put it back, tend to the bite, and try again without getting bit.

Last edited by Andy_G; 04-28-17 at 12:55 PM..
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