My First Snake....And First Bite!

Discussion in 'Newbies forum' started by Nerdhero, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. Nerdhero

    Nerdhero Not so new Member

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    Hey all, brand new snake owner here!

    I recently purchased a 9 month old diamond python and today he bit me! Reading through everyones comments it seems most people agree when you've been bitten its generally your fault not the snakes. I would like to know what I've done wrong and how I can remedy this:

    I got him from a local snake catcher who is a friend of a friend (completely captive bred she got a clutch as a gift) she only handled him when cleaning his enclosure but said he was quite docile considering the lack of handling, when I picked him up from her I handled him for about 5 minutes and he seemed comfortable and curious!

    So I've only had him a couple of days and have been trying my best to just ignore him and let him settle in. I've just been changing his water twice a day and at the same time checking his hides/enclosure for any poo. He has seemed curious of me but not aggressive (albiet I'm VERY new to reading snake body language) and I grew comfortable/confident when shuffling things around in his enclosure to check for poo and double checking temps with my infared thermo. Today while doing a water change and check he bit me. I don't even remember what I was doing at the time but I was surprised he even reached me from how far away he was.

    My concern hasn't been with the physical bite (as expected it didn't hurt at all) but with my reaction, aka getting surprised, pulling my hand back and potentially hurting him! Of course this is exactly what I did, crying out in surprise I've jerked my hand back and he has ended up falling outside his enclosure (about a 1m fall). I placed him back in the enclosure and just left him be now, he did spend quite a long time sitting out under no hides after that which I haven't seen him do yet.

    I've tried to be as descriptive as possible here so please try point out what I've done wrong! Is he simply stressed in his new environment and I should leave him be? Is that fall going to hurt him, he has seemed to still be moving fine but i definitely stressed him out :(

    To add: I am yet to feed him (was advised to wait a week) Before the clean I had been to the toilet and therefore just washed my hands. Also is there body language to look for? I didn't notice anying "s"ing up and was frankly shocked when he flew at me, the speed and distance was amazing!

    Thanks in advance for any advice, he is a beautiful creature and I want to give him the best care possible.
     
  2. Imported_tuatara

    Imported_tuatara Well-Known Member

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    have you handled any sort of rodent or such? the thing i'd be scared about most is pulling his teeth out, it's not rare for it to happen.
     
  3. Nerdhero

    Nerdhero Not so new Member

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    Edit: thread was moved, thanks mods
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  4. Nerdhero

    Nerdhero Not so new Member

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    No and as I said I'd just washed my hands before hand.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2017
  5. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    Just ask a mod or admin to move it.

    If they felt it needed to move then it would have moved
     
  6. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    You're scaring the snake by continually putting your hands in the enclosure to change the water and move things around and that's why it has decided to lash out and nail you. It has felt threatened and has struck out in an attempt to defend itself. There is no need whatsoever to change the water twice a day or look for dropping. Once a week is fine. Leave it alone and give it time to get used to it's new surroundings. The fall shouldn't have hurt it but probably rattled it for a bit.

    George.
     
  7. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    Welcome to APS.
    As George has said, leave it alone to settle in for a week. Then offer food (with tongs), and then leave it alone for a couple of days while it digests the food. After that, gradually start putting you hand into the tank, confidently not hesitantly, to change the water or pick up the poop. Because it hasn't been handled much before, I'd suggest using a hook to get it out, at least at first. Most snakes are more defensive in their tanks.
     
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  8. Nerdhero

    Nerdhero Not so new Member

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    Thanks for your advice guys, I'll continue to leave him be then. My diamond python care sheet suggests after the first feed to handle him every day for 1-2 minutes (unless he is in shed or digesting of course), then if he feeds again after week of handling move up to 2-4 minutes and so on.....Does this sound like a suitable method? The info I've found on this can be very varied with some even saying to only handle your snake if necessary.
     
  9. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    I only ever handle mine when necessary which can be only a couple of times a month, snakes aren't like dogs who enjoy interacting with us, they simply tolerate handling to various degrees, they don't enjoy it...
     
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  10. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    Even when you and your snake get used to handling, 10 minutes should be your max. And I wouldn't do it every day, just start to handle it in short bursts every few days.
     
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  11. Nerdhero

    Nerdhero Not so new Member

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    Thanks again for the advice. Is there anything wrong with using a coat hanger as a snake hook? Its metal with a rubber "cap" over the end so no sharp bits. Went to the pet store today to buy a real one but they didn't have any, can't see why this won't do the job though
     
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  12. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    I use a plastic coat hanger because I lost the metal hook but they work just fine . Just your hand will be closer than if you were using a hook.
     
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  13. SpottedPythons

    SpottedPythons Well-Known Member

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    You can use the coat hanger - same principle as a hook. If you have tools, you could saw off the end of a golf club and weld a metal hook onto the end of it to make a snake hook.
     
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  14. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    I find the golfclub hooks are much lighter than just regular snake hooks aswell:) however they don’t have adjustable lengths so would probably be more suited to larger pythons /venomous snakes
     
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  15. Stompsy

    Stompsy Subscriber Subscriber

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    I’d suggest only handling once a week. Everyday is too much.

    Also, allow him to settle in for a week or so before feeding, as he gets used to his new home.

    And as George suggested, his water only needs changing every 2 to 3 days.

    Keep us posted on your progress.

    And get a proper snake hook. It’ll make getting him out to handle much easier.
     
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  16. Nerdhero

    Nerdhero Not so new Member

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    Will try get some photos after I handle him next week.

    As for the snake hook I looked up some videos on it and got conflicting information. Some people were using the hook to physically pick up the snake whereas others were just using the hook to gently rub them to demonstrate to the snake that it was not feeding time. Maybe they would kinda manipulate them with the hook but the lifting was done by hand. Would love to get some clarification on this, one guy even let his snake bite him a few times!
     
  17. Stompsy

    Stompsy Subscriber Subscriber

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    I use mine every time I take my Rough Scaled Python out of his enclosure. It's easier for both me and him and once hes out he goes straight onto my hand and the hook gets put down.

    I can understand why some would rub the snake gently to ensure they know someone is there though.

    Just remember, when handling, try to keep the snake moving over your hands and arms as much as possible and use slow movements.
     
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  18. Tarron

    Tarron Active Member

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    Slow movements are a must. I was holding my snake and it was good, she was getting really close to my face so I quickly put my other hand near her so she could climb on it but striked at it.
     
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  19. Nerdhero

    Nerdhero Not so new Member

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    Kirby has now happy eaten his first meal and im eagerly/nervously waiting for when i can handle him, will get some photos when i do as he does look a little different to diamonds ive seen on here (not that i know much)

    Just a query, i live on the gold coast and now coming into summer i want to make sure im not overheating him. Currently im using heat chord, only on during the day in 1-2 hour intervals. So 2 hours on 2 off, not always exactly this but in general. The first heat cycle begins at 5am and the last ends at 6pm. All up hes getting around 7 hours of heating, the peak ive measured it at is 33. Generally 30-32. With the cool end being 22-26 depending on time of day. Thinking of reducing heating time more as ambient heats up.

    These guys are from cooler parts so im trying to be vigilant with my heating. Please advise me if you see anything wrong with my setup!
     
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  20. pinefamily

    pinefamily Subscriber Subscriber

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    That sounds pretty good for a diamond. If the ambient temp starts to get higher, you might need to adjust it.
    Give him at least three days to digest, and then try some of the tips above for handling.
     
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