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Old 04-03-18, 08:13 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Handling/getting used to me?

So Iíve had my new BP for about 3 days now. Heís been settling in pretty good, he ate yesterday. Now I know to wait to handle him for about 2-3 weeks. But is there anyway to get him used to me before then? Not with handling. Should I put my hand in the tank for a few minutes? I have small tank maintenance things to do each day, (keep humidity up, fix the temperature position since he keeps knocking it over), but should I just let my hand sit in the tank at all? I tried this yesterday, and I wasnít thinking, but I shouldnít have, because he was hungry, and I think scared, so he did bite me. Lol it scared the crap out of me cuz he seemed curious at first, but then he just snapped my finger... I definitely donít want that to happen again, it did hurt and he did draw some blood (heís a strong little guy). Is there anyway for him to get used to me before I handle?
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Old 04-03-18, 09:19 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Handling/getting used to me?

Hello! I think one way to get him used to you before handling is to get him used to your smell. If he knows your scent, and knows it to be different than a mouse/rat, then he'll be more used to you when you want to hold him. Maybe use an old shirt or something for cloth and put it somewhere that he's likely to go (maybe his hide) so he can associate the smell with comfort and safety. Maybe don't keep your hand there for a long time, so he doesn't bite again lol, but just try to make sure he's comfortable and make sure he trusts you not to hurt him (which you obviously wouldn't do lol). As long as he feels safe, he'll be less likely to see you as a threat.
Good luck!
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Old 04-03-18, 09:54 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Handling/getting used to me?

Ok thanks! I’ll definitely try the shirt in his hide
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Old 04-03-18, 03:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Handling/getting used to me?

Congrats on the new BP. As he gets acclimated to his new environment he should naturally calm down a bit. With time, patience, and a few more meals he'll be putty in your hands. I've heard of folks putting shirts or socks in their snake enclosures to familiarize the critters with the keeper's scent but I've never done it.
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Old 04-04-18, 07:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Handling/getting used to me?

Congrats on your new ball python. You really don't have to wait two or three weeks after feedings to handle them. However, if you're referring to the acclimating period then that's about right. Young ball pythons can be defensive but they do grow out of that. Just putting your hand in the enclosure and waving it or letting it sit there can trigger a feeding response in any snake or even a defensive strike. It's better to just pick the animal up instead. Remember, these are captive animals with wild instincts and need to be respected and treated as such. Ball pythons sense the heat coming off your hands and could be a reason for a strike as well. Try washing your hands in very cold water prior to picking him up in the future as to avoid the chance of a repeat bite.
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Old 04-04-18, 08:02 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Handling/getting used to me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert Clark View Post
Congrats on your new ball python. You really don't have to wait two or three weeks after feedings to handle them. However, if you're referring to the acclimating period then that's about right. Young ball pythons can be defensive but they do grow out of that. Just putting your hand in the enclosure and waving it or letting it sit there can trigger a feeding response in any snake or even a defensive strike. It's better to just pick the animal up instead. Remember, these are captive animals with wild instincts and need to be respected and treated as such. Ball pythons sense the heat coming off your hands and could be a reason for a strike as well. Try washing your hands in very cold water prior to picking him up in the future as to avoid the chance of a repeat bite.
This is solid info.

As for the acclimating period, just wait it out. Keep handling to a bare minumum and make sure the snake is eating consistently. I personally advise new keepers to wait until a new snake has eaten three consecutive meals without refusal before handling.
Putting your hand in the enclosure and leaving it in there is actually counter productive. Like Albert said, it's a good way to get tagged. It also stresses the snake.

You'll have 20+ years to handle your new pet, resist temptation and you'll be in great shape to start regular handling. Your snake will acclimate just the same in a few weeks.
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Old 04-04-18, 11:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Handling/getting used to me?

Oh ok. Thanks for telling me about not keeping my hands in the tank. I'm glad I know that now!
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Old 04-04-18, 04:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Handling/getting used to me?

Another thing to remember is that baby snakes are prey for a variety of animals, but particularly birds. If come at him from above or dangle your fingers over him, he is likely to take that as a threat.

It can be nerve racking to be a new snake keeper trying to feel out your recent acquisition. Resist quick, nervous movements. Approach with a palm and closed fingers in a slow, deliberate, confident manner. That will ease his nerves as well. Come at him from as low a position as you can when you pick him up and support his whole body so he feels safe.

He will calm down very quickly with just a little reassurance. He just needs to acclimate and be convinced that you are not going to eat him
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Old 04-05-18, 05:54 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Handling/getting used to me?

Generally you wait 1-2 weeks not only for handling, but for feeding, too. Since he’s already eaten, I’d still go ahead and wait the full week to start handling, but if he’s already eaten that’s a good sign.

Generally, if a snake seems interested in your hands...it means they’re gonna bite. Breaking their concentration or (slowly) moving your hand away should prevent bites. If you move too fast, they’ll think your hand is prey, and they can strike way faster than you can pull your hand away.

Not that their bites are all that painful, but it is best for both of you to avoid unnecessary bites.

Even if it takes awhile for him to settle in, don’t be disheartened. They’ll take it at their own pace. Snakes become calmer with age and size, some will come around after a few weeks and some after a few months. The occasional few might take a year or two or more before they mellow out. Just keep handling sessions short and sweet, offer plenty of cover in its enclosure, and try to keep handling as positive as possible.
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