You are here:

Snakes/5 mo old Ball Python updates and more questions

Advertisement


Question
Hey, I asked a question about a month ago, because my five month old ball python was acting weak and drunk.  I took her to the breeder who determined that she was just in shed. She did shed about a week and a half ago, and has started eating for me no problem.  She is completely happy and doing well! So, that's great! But, I do have two quick questions, if you'll hear me out.
I fed her last night, the prey was about as big as her largest part of her belly, she attacked and ate it with no hesitation, no problem...I reached in to put her hides back in her enclosure (the mouse will hide in them if I leave them in during feeding, so I take them out) and she assumed a strike pose toward me, so I figured she was just defensive on her full stomach. Then today (about 30hrs after she ate) I pulled out her tub and she struck at my hand(which was outside the tub) smacking her face against the wall of her enclosure. She did this several times when I experimented by moving my around the outside of her tub.  Is she still hungry? Should I try feeding her an additional, smaller prey? Or is it her hinting mode that hasn't calmed down yet? She is usually very friendly and doesn't mind at all when you reach right in to pick her up or even move her around in your hands. She's generally well mannered and relaxed.
My second question is similar, while I was not fully committed to the idea of owning a second snake so early in my experience with them, a friend brought one over to my house and said that her dad had been trying to kill it because it was aggressive and she just wanted the snake to be in a safe home. So, being the big mush ball that I am, I adopted it. He is a four year old ball python, he eats a large mouse twice a week, though I've only had him for a day, so I haven't fed him yet, but he will false strike at anything that comes near his aquarium. Is this because he is just an aggressive snake? My friend said she  never holds him because of this, is it possible to reverse this behavior? I considered that maybe switching him to rats, and/or larger prey in general might help, as well as feeding him in a separate container, and maybe Increasing humidity? Perhaps he has eye caps from a previous shed?  He was in an aquarium after all...I plan on making a more sealed Lid for it.  Anyway, am I on the right track? Any suggestions or knowledge you have is much appreciated!

Answer
Hi Samson,
  I will try to address your questions one by one, I am glad to hear your snake is doing better.
1.  Is she still hungry? Should I try feeding her an additional, smaller prey? Or is it her hinting mode that hasn't calmed down yet? She is usually very friendly and doesn't mind at all when you reach right in to pick her up or even move her around in your hands. She's generally well mannered and relaxed.

There is no way to know. It sounds like you fed her enough food and snakes just tend to strike at times. You cant get into their head to figure them out so don't even try. Observer their posture and that will tell you whether to approach or not. I would not feed her additional food. Give her a day or two and grab her fearlessly to handle her. Snakes can sense fear, never be afraid. I have been bitten at least a thousand times and 5 times by elapids. You must be careful, but fearless when handling any snake.

2. My guess on the second snake is that he just is not accustomed to being handled. Get some cheap gardening gloves to start. You certainly want to feed him in a second container. You should be able to see if he has retained an eyecap. If so, put mineral oil on it and let it come off by itself, never pick it off as you can remove the cornea.

Snakes

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Kevin L. Ogle

Expertise

I can answer almost any question regarding snake husbandry, feeding, general care, handling, etc. I have some experience with geckos and bearded dragons. I cannot answer questions regarding breeding or venomous reptiles.

Experience

I have over 10 years experience in snake husbandry. Currently, I have the following (Children's Python, Brazilian Rainbow Boa, Western Hognose, Olive Python, 2 Macklot's Pythons, D'Albert's Python, 2 Carpet Pythons, 2 Royal (Ball) Pythons, California King, Green Tree Python, Amazon Tree Boa). While I have no formal training in Herpetology, I can help most folks keep their snakes healthy and happy.

Education/Credentials
AAS in Electronic Engineering (Tennessee)
The Logistics Institute (Georgia Tech)

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.