Anyone live around Wollongong (Corrimal) area and willing to help mentor me?

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toddjconklin

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Hey all, first time poster.

I was wondering if anybody on here lived near me, cause I would love some face to face help/advice. I've done sooo much research, poured over this forum, the ball pythons forum (I know not relevant by species but kept coming up in google searches, and watched endless Youtube clips (really like the Snake Discovery channel), so I'm feeling about as informed as I can be at this stage. So we purchased a Children's python yearling (about 70 grams) a month ago. It's actually for my 13 year old son. There's nothing specifically I have questions about, but just feel like I don't know what I'm doing. There also seems to be conflicting views on many topics - especially around feeding, how, how often etc. I did have a few incidents of him biting me early on, but it hasn't happened again. It wasn't aggressive behaviour - he was trying to eat my fingers each time - latched on and started constricting, and didn't let go), which made me think I was not feeding enough but I think I have that sorted. The second time, he actually got around to the tip of my finger (which I must say looks remarkably like the pinky rats he's eating), and started to try and consume the tip of finger, so I had to force him to let go or I think he may have tried getting my whole finger down the hatch!

Anyway, it would just be nice to have someone with some experience who's willing to share their knowledge. Even little things like, am I holding him right? is he behaving normal or does he look stressed? is the tank set up OK? am I feeding him enough, or too often? We have other pets in the house - a dog, and yes, rats (the pet variety). Is it enough to just wash hands/arms to get rid of the smell, or full clean clothes etc (FYI, if anyone is wondering, I had no rat smell on me when I was bitten - just showered, fresh clothes, nowhere near them etc.)?

Just small stuff like that, which would be so much easier to just be able to chat to someone, and have them demonstrate how to properly handle and treat the snake. Please PM me if you're near to me and willing to help out. I tried to search members by location but couldn't figure out how...

Thanks!
 

Wolfgang5

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Hey Mate

I don't live in your area but I'll tell you this.

You are most likely overthinking everything.

By the sounds of it you are pretty aware of what is going on, being able to understand the difference between a defensive tag and a feed response, ie, a quick bite or a grab and restrict, is a good indication that you are on the right track.

Provided you have the temps set appropriately and provide enough hides both hot and cold, and some water, you can pretty much set and forget.

As to feeding, as captive keepers, we seriously overfeed our animals. In the wild no snake has access to regular feeding instead they are opportunistic and will eat when food is available.

My personal preference is for younger animals, I feed 1.5x the thickest part of my animal every seven to 10 days, once my animals are mature, I limit their food to every 14-21 days depending on the size of the meal.

As for other pets, be careful with rodents as pets, snakes sense of smell is unbelievable and they will get hyped up if they sense the rats so it's best to keep them far apart.
I have other animals, cats and dogs and I use sanitisers on my hands prior to any interactions and I'm yet to receive a feed bite.

When I originally bought my first snake, I was so stressed, I remember getting up all hours day and night to check temps, humidity, water, etc. I overthought everything to the point where it drove me insane.
You are right, there is so much conflicting information online, read it all and use it to make your own informed decision.
As your animal is fairly new, ignore the first shed but in future, look at the shed, a nice full shed is a good indication of a healthy snake, if the shed is broken or flakey then maybe we have to adjust something. Otherwise as long as we are eating and dedicating regularly, I wouldn't be too concerned.

If you run into any specific problems, ask away, if not, you are probably doing better than you realise.

The last thing handling, try to think of yourself as a tree with movable branches, try to support the inner third of the body and relax and let him-her move through your hands. That's all. If you are relaxed and calm they will pick up on this and you should be fine. Also, I tend to wait until my animals are out exploring before handling.

You are clearly concerned for the animals health and safety, that's the most important step in being a great parent.

Keep asking questions and post pics or vids if you have specific concerns and I'm sure a member here will happily jump in to give you a hand.

Note: this is my opinion and preference, always do your own research and make your own informed decisions
 

toddjconklin

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Hey Wolfgang5,

Thanks so much for your detailed response. Yeah, I am notorious for over-thinking. My wife tells me I am a little OCD LOL. I guess in thinking through things, I probably don't have the feeding sorted at all really. And that is flowing into other things. I suspect may be actually under-feeding. I might do a another feed, collect some more data (weight and frequency) and then post back in separate post with photos etc.

Thanks again!
 

Wolfgang5

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Hey Wolfgang5,

Thanks so much for your detailed response. Yeah, I am notorious for over-thinking. My wife tells me I am a little OCD LOL. I guess in thinking through things, I probably don't have the feeding sorted at all really. And that is flowing into other things. I suspect may be actually under-feeding. I might do a another feed, collect some more data (weight and frequency) and then post back in separate post with photos etc.

Thanks again!
Trust me you are doing fine.

If you have concerns about the feeding, an easy way to monitor is next time you have the little one out, try and pinch the skin on the lower third of the side of the snake, if you are able to grab excess loose skin, you might want to feed some more, or if your animal looks thick and you cannot grab any skin and you can see clear separation in scales, you might want to cut back on food for a bit as he/she could be a bit porky.

I think we are "newer" keepers tend to forget that reptiles are not dogs or cats, in the wild they may not eat for months or they may gorge on a rat plague, they can handle a bit more irregular feeding and we as keepers tend to over feed out of fear that our animal is starving. 9/10 times, they're fine.
If you feed every 7-10 days while they are growing to maturity you will be fine, just keep in mind body condition is way more important that frequency or size of food.
Once they have reached maturity, we switch to a "maintenance" diet and this will depend on the individual. Some are more or less active etc so need slightly more or slightly less.

In basic terms, forget everything you know about regular domestic pets, you are now a reptile keeper and you need to learn a whole new language.

Personally, I think you are doing great so try to let go of your fears, continue researching until your confidence grows and ask a million questions if you need.
 

toddjconklin

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Thanks mate, that's really reassuring - and thank you for your patience with what must seem so tedious to one with experience.
Pinching the skin is a good idea - I'm sure this guy is always hungry, so maybe this will help me figure it out
 
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