Some excellent advice has been offered already and I echo George's comments. To reiterate...........Gloves, NO. dangerous to the animal. (Teeth get pulled out if the get stuck in the gloves and can lead to a transfer of bacteria) Sand......NO. Not a good thing from a cleanliness perspective. (There are probably comments regarding impaction from sand also) It doesn't absorb waste so bacteria grows/thrives in that environment. Might not be pretty but the best forms of substrate are the simplest, newspaper or kitty litter. There are some good commercial products out there such as chipsi, (Astro turf is ok but not one I would suggest) The biting you describe has been identified as hunger so as has been suggested feed multiple items instead of one. If the animal is afraid it will bite in defense, the only way to combat this is to demonstrate to the animal that there is no need to be afraid of you. Make each interaction a positive one and eventually, if fed sufficiently it will not demonstrate fear/aggression towards you. Some of the best advice given is the 'need' to handle the animal. It gets no enjoyment from interaction with you but if treated appropriately it will allow you to handle it though handling should not be excessive just because it pleases you. If you want to handle snakes more than 5-10 minutes a day best thing to do is go buy more of them lol.