My Python family

Discussion in 'General Reptile Discussion' started by Lanea, May 16, 2018.

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  1. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    It's good to see that you've decided to hang around and seeking advice already regarding your GTP. Nor should you feel intimidated. You'll find that here, just like anywhere else, there is a mixed bag of members. Some posts may come across a bit harsh, others compassionate and some direct so can I suggest that the adage, "take criticism constructively" may be a worthwhile consideration.

    I appreciate that you may have been around snakes for some time but when it comes to keeping them it's a whole new ball game. And yes we've all made rookie mistakes and a lot of the knowledge you'll to get from experienced keepers here is because they have learnt from those mistakes. Most of the older, experienced keepers "cut their teeth" catching and keeping wild snakes, some as far back as 50 or 60+ years ago, and were involved in pioneering a lot of the current husbandry techniques in use today. You'll also come to realise that a lot are also quite knowledgeable regarding snake behaviour. They'll offer the advice based from either making those mistakes themselves or knowing others who have in the hope that the can assist newbies like yourself avoid going down the same path. So a lot of advice you'll get from the older members isn't based on opinion but from either personal hands on experience, many, many discussions with other experienced long time keepers or through accessing literature related to specific subjects on keeping. If you take what's offered on board you'll lean a hell of a lot.

    You might find that a lot of the advice given previously was based on your detailed explanation. I'll add that the "lol" comment in the above post relating to stress is a bit unwarranted and a bit disrespectful coming from someone so new to the hobby. Snakes do suffer from stress, it can be a result of overhandling, not being provided with the correct husbandry or simply by being disturbed unnecessarily when all they want to do is chill out. Snakes can also suffer injuries when not handled correctly. In many cases symptoms related to both stress and injury aren't displayed until many moons down the track and often with severe consequences.

    In regard to anthropomorphism - FYI (and despite what someone may try and have you believe or what one may think) snakes don't have the mental capacity to bond with their keepers. They are primitive animals with a very small primitive brain that have served them with surviving for thousands of years without developing further. They don't possess the ability to display emotion or crave companionship. Being captive or wild, all they are interested in is survival.
     
  2. Lanea

    Lanea Not so new Member

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    Definitely a generation gap thing going on here, and I mean that in the most respectful way, and it's my actual fault. The lol comment, may most definitely seem over confident and cocky and most certainly is not my intention. It's actually bought on by me and my problem with not thinking about how my message comes across and always in a rush and expecting a reader is on the same page as me re: context. I do need to be more attentive to my articulation and the impression I give. I wasn't meaning "LOL, YEAH RIGHT, it doesn't stress them, I do this or that and its no problem" As I have explained a few times, I adopted a coastal who has been over handled. I can't open the door without him coming towards me. When I wrote that, (although I now see how I was unclear) I was thinking back to occasions where I have put water in his bowl and he's tried to slide out on my arm, and I've said "Lol, No Archie, (Yes, I talk to my snakes) I'm giving you water not a hold". He has been VERY over handled since a hatchie. I am therefore trying to leave him alone as much as possible as explained in other posts. 'Lol' - wasn't saying 'yeah right snake isn't stressed', or 'pfft what would you know, lol, doesn't stress out my snake' - However I can see that context was undetected and perhaps seen as mocking, but can assure you George, it wasn't my intention. I am a very respectful individual, and think I have said in this thread or perhaps another, that I have been around snakes at HerpShop for 15 years but very different to being an owner and absolutely consider myself as someone on their L plates. I have been them in what I refer to as a 'casual manner' caring for them daily is a different responsibility, one which I understand needs to be done with long term health and wellbeing considerations.

    What I did mean, is the coastal has been so over handled, he moves towards me as though he is expecting me to handle him. I have never seen a snake come toward you, I've only seen snakes having to be retrieved to be handled. It's still quite surprising to me.

    Anyways, I am incredibly respectful of the Herp veterans here and it is the only reason I have stayed, because I value the vast wealth of knowledge the forum brings. I am not making light of my rookie errors either.

    Re: Anthropomorphism.. It's all getting cloudy here and we are probably starting to split hairs over words, but I guess I'm more talking about calling them my babies, and darlings, my python family, etc. Which someone commented negatively on and then edited. I am completely aware that I may love my snakes but they will never love me but perhaps tolerate only because their primal needs are being met, and even then at times if too interfered with can even sabotage their primal needs because of stress (hunger strike, etc) I completely understand that reptiles lack conscious mind, and their whole lives are run by their subconscious, they don't consciously think or make decisions and therefore we can never tell whether are 'thinking' - Was just saying, Irwin was an anthropocentric individual who would tell us what they would think and feel, and refer to them by warm fuzzy adjectives and he is our big hero.

    Anyway not looking for an argument. Not why I signed here, definitely. So I will be more careful what I post. If you know me in person, you will know that I am not arrogant and love to learn. I guess because of the previous pages in this thread, I have my back up and feel I need to prove myself. Which I don't. I'm going to stick closer to herp discussion and less about thoughts/feelings.

    Actually the advice you gave me on the overhanding, was taken on board and I even went to lengths to move my coastal to our office which is rarely entered, to give him privacy and a quiet room. So he can be left alone for a while and settle in. Not even going to bother him with attempts of a feed - He just needs his space to settle from trauma.

    Peace though - Meant no disrespect to anyones opinion or to my coastal - And thank you @GBWhite for your genuine well intended advice re: settling them in.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  3. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    I think you’re mistaking the *coming to the door to be handled*with “ah, smells, let’s investigate.”
    My coastal does the same thing, as soon as I open the door he pops his head out of hide and comes to me till I push him away. Sometimes he insists to come back, sometimes he will put his face right up to me for like 20seconds and go off his merry way, usually out the door because that’s more exciting than his tank.

    Maybe I’m wrong though
     
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  4. Lanea

    Lanea Not so new Member

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    Yeah half the time I think this too, its a smell thing. Sometimes he wraps around my arm.
     
  5. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    Next time you open it up, put a new smell in the enclosure, I was recommended and dabbled my finger in canned cat food and rubbed in random places of tank, and he spent hours investigating, no chunky bits, just juices (make sure to clean it or it will stink after a day)

    Make sure not to use stuff like rats or mice for smell as their is a chance they’ll try eat what ever you put the smell on
     
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  6. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    Rick Shine’s research crew have shown that snakes (at least some species at this stage) have a knowledge of where their various retreats are in their home range. They are able to travel directly from one to another. Whether they are following well marked scent trails or memorising landmarks, they at least know where they want to go. To find useable retreats requires snakes to investigate their environment. This would be an in-built behaviour, exercised when they are not threatened or stressed by anything in their immediate surrounds i.e. not feeling the need to escape.

    Pythons that spend at least a percentage of their time in trees will, at times, climb up their owner/handler and perch on top of them. Perhaps they feel this is one of their safe refuges?
     
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  7. Bl69aze

    Bl69aze Very Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for extending what I said :p
     
  8. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mike,

    I've spoken to Rick about this and assisted some of his researches undertaking this type of work on many past occasions. The research teams don't follow each individual snake to see what paths they take and as such haven't got a clue if they travel directly from one spot to another. All the work is done using telementry to locate each individual specimen and it just so happens that they have located specimens in the exact same location during ongoing research. They don't know if they travelled over the same route, moved directly from one spot to another or how long it has taken them to get from one spot to another. Generally snakes will travel as little as possible and as I'm sure you're aware the amount of ground that covers their home range depends on the size of the snake, metabolic needs, population density and the availability of resources (food, water and shelter) and in some cases even the season, so if all this is contained within 10sq metres, 100sq metres or over a couple of kilometres that will be it's home range. Given all species have limited vision, some are nocturnal and others are sit and wait strategists or crepuscular it appears pretty obvious they don't recognise landmarks as suggested but follow scent trails, either their own and those left by others of the same species. It's also not uncommon to locate individual specimens of the same species utilizing the exact same retreat as others have done on previous occasions. (For example;- the exact same rock, rock exfoliate, crevice, tree hollow, log, sheet of iron, debris, barn and roofs of both old abandoned and new homes etc, etc on separate occasions often weeks, months and even years apart). At other times it isn't uncommon to discover two, three or more all using the same shelter site at the same time. I've even come across communal eggs laying sites with literally hundreds of new and old eggs that have no doubt been utilized by individuals of the same species over long periods of time.

    Nice thought that pythons might climb on top of their owners/handlers because they feel safe there but personally I don't believe that it has an association with the person and more to do with a natural instinct to get off the ground to seek refuge as high of the ground as is immediately possible.

    Cheers,

    George.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
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  9. pythoninfinite

    pythoninfinite Subscriber Subscriber

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    Not sure why this hasn't been mentioned before, but there is wisdom in not allowing your snakes within striking distance of your face, regardless of how placid they may seem. While the chance of one of them biting you may seem fairly remote, it's much better to cop a bite on your arm or hand than anywhere near your face. It's an absolute rule for me, resulting from ill-judged silliness when I was a lot younger. You should also ensure that anyone you allow to handle them is aware that this is a no-no.

    Jamie
     
  10. Bluetongue1

    Bluetongue1 APS Veteran APS Veteran

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    Dear George,

    In using the term “directly” in reference to moving from one refuge to another, It was not intended to convey the meaning of a “in a straight in”. My fault for trying to be too brief. It was meant to convey utilising the most as convenient track, as a human bushwalker would do. My apologies for that error.

    Despite the shortfalls of radiotelemetry, it still allowed researchers to determine the precise location of animals, and where they might move one day to the next and thereby the distance they have travelled from one refuge to the next.

    Your opinions on snake behaviour are stated as predicated on the limited capacity and capabilities of the “small, reptilian brains” they possess. From this you point out their limited if non-existent capacity to learn by experience and alter their behaviour accordingly. What puzzles me then is how is a snake capable of having a home range. Surely they need to learn what’s in it and where. If they don’t learn where various things are then they may as well wander around randomly, as there would be no specific advantage to staying in one area. They clearly have an ability to learn and alter their behaviour accordingly. The question is not whether they have the ability… but to what extent?

    Cheers
     
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  11. GBWhite

    GBWhite Well-Known Member

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    Hi Mike.

    Radiotelementry does allow researchers to determine the precise location of snakes and determine the distance they travel from one refuge to the next but only during the period they spend tracking the animal which as a rule is restricted to just a period of several days at the most and due to such things as time restraints, assistance and funding, ongoing field research is generally undertaken weeks and even months apart and even then they don't restrict their time to concentrate on the movement of one single animal. During these periods in the field they try to gain data from as many animals as possible so after locating one animal and recording the data they move onto the next. Outside these periods they haven't got a clue. Sure the data collected provides evidence that they use the same refuge at times but it doesn't provide concise data in relation to their movements, route taken, distance travelled, frequency of occupation or whether they have "learned" to head to a particular refuge or just end up here by following a scent trail. In other situations where a snake has been located utilizing a shelter site, unless it has been previously recorded they have no idea if it has been utilized on a regular basis or randomly selected. Their conclusions are based on limited data and using that data they hypothesise on the distance travelled on a regular basis and frequency they utilize a particular refuge.

    As I'm sure you're aware a snake's home range isn't restricted to a geometrical shape and as mentioned above if all the resources they require to survive are available within a specific area why would there be a need for them to wander around randomly in search of said resources. In fact it's highly probable that it would be detrimental to their wellbeing, albeit to their existence to do so as is evident when they are forced to relocate due to either natural or unnatural events that affect habitat and microhabitat within the areas they occupy.

    Do they have the ability to learn and if they do then to what extent? Personally, I don't know but based on what I know and what I've read I doubt it very much. I'm of the opinion that they rely heavily on their acute instinctive sense of smell, that has served them with survival for so long, to familiarize themselves and guide them about within an area they occupy as well as to locate suitable food items and identify and react to potential threats.

    It's an interesting topic and it's pretty obvious that we differ in our opinion regarding their ability to learn and I appreciate reading your opinion and input. So I guess that we'll just have to agree to disagree until such time as someone does the research and provides concise evidence either way.

    Cheers.
     
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  12. pythoninfinite

    pythoninfinite Subscriber Subscriber

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    Just as a follow-up to what George has said with regard to scent trails - I know from the behaviour of my Jack Russells when there is a snake in the area, and they are very quick to pick up the scent of a snake when it has been on the grass recently. They invariably know if there is a snake in the trees in the garden at night - unless I was looking, I wouldn't have a clue, but they can pick them up very quickly and usually sniff intensively around the trunk. So I'm sure snakes are equally tuned to scent trails on the ground as well.

    Jamie
     
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