Bonding with hatchling snakes?

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MangoPie

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Hey there!
This might be a bit of a weird question, but I was wondering if anyone had any tips on bonding with your snake or if you shouldn't worry too much about that until they get a bit bigger.

I have a 7 month old Bredli Python and he handles really nicely in my oppinion. He was a little strikey when I first got him, but he hasn't tried to bite in quite a few weeks now. He's very calm when I have him in my hand.

Only downside is when I go to pick him up he tends to want to run away and I always feel bad that he might be scared. I want to make handling a positive experiance and I'm worried that his flighty behaviour means it's not so positive.

I don't think he's stressed out by handling overall. I only handle him about 10 minutes each day. He's usually back to being active and exploring about an hour after I put him back. He eats fine and has pretty typcial Bredli behaviour.

Would you suggest using a snake hook to try and lift him from his enclosure or try touching him before picking him up? I've seen this method with other snakes but I worry that might freak out a little carpet.
 

Flaviemys purvisi

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You're over handling in my opinion. 10 mins every day is more than most people handle pets that are better suited to handling like budgies etc. Reptiles don't "bond" with their keepers, they do however quickly recognise that's where their food comes from. I handle my 2 year old stimmy and spotted about 10 mins total in a month and that's only when absolutely necessary during cleaning of their enclosures and for a quick once over physical inspection. I certainly have no desire whatsoever to get them out of their enclosures every single day to play with them. That would just cause them to be extremely unsettled and result in feeding and other stress related issues.
 

MangoPie

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You're over handling in my opinion. 10 mins every day is more than most people handle pets that are better suited to handling like budgies etc. Reptiles don't "bond" with their keepers, they do however quickly recognise that's where their food comes from. I handle my 2 year old stimmy and spotted about 10 mins total in a month and that's only when absolutely necessary during cleaning of their enclosures and for a quick once over physical inspection. I certainly have no desire whatsoever to get them out of their enclosures every single day to play with them. That would just cause them to be extremely unsettled and result in feeding and other stress related issues.

Hey there!
While it's definitely not my intention to over-stress my snake or handle him more than required (cutting down on handling time is something I'd definitely do if it's recomended), I don't want to end up with a large snake that isn't used to handling since Bredli's can get quite big. I am a new snake owner so perhaps there things I'm not noticing yet, but I believe his behaviour is quite normal when he's in his enclosure and he's had no feeding issues so far. I've so far worked up to the handling time I have with him now and have intended to stop if I noticed he was hiding more or not taking food. He's quite friendly and used to regular handling.
 

Herpetology

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Start small, say on a hook for a minute or 2, put him back

2 days later, another 2minutes or so

Slowly work your way up.

As stated, they don’t really bond with people, more so just tolerate the handling.

One mistake I made with my first snake was taking him out of his hide to handle him, I wqntwanna s him to get used to it, but he slowly started spending a lot more time in his hide than out of it (would only come out for like 20minutes at night )


Edit: just realised it’s a bredli - they tend to chill out over time and are quite placid as they get older
 

MangoPie

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Start small, say on a hook for a minute or 2, put him back

2 days later, another 2minutes or so

Slowly work your way up.

As stated, they don’t really bond with people, more so just tolerate the handling.

One mistake I made with my first snake was taking him out of his hide to handle him, I wqntwanna s him to get used to it, but he slowly started spending a lot more time in his hide than out of it (would only come out for like 20minutes at night )


Edit: just realised it’s a bredli - they tend to chill out over time and are quite placid as they get older

Thanks for the reply! I've been working my way up over the few weeks that I've had him. I might reduce my handling time to once every second day if every day is too stressful. He's very placid and I've had no problems during the handling process, just wish getting him out was a calmer experiance for him haha. He isn't nippy anymore, just a bit flighty.
I usually won't get him out unless he's out and about himself. He's out sometimes during the day and most nights.
 

Herpetology

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Thanks for the reply! I've been working my way up over the few weeks that I've had him. I might reduce my handling time to once every second day if every day is too stressful. He's very placid and I've had no problems during the handling process, just wish getting him out was a calmer experiance for him haha. He isn't nippy anymore, just a bit flighty.
I usually won't get him out unless he's out and about himself. He's out sometimes during the day and most nights.
Wondering how you are getting him out? Is he S’d up before you go to pick him up? Or is he turning around and biting you?

Is it possible you are not getting him out correctly?
Try use a hook to keep his head away while you grab him closer to the tail end (don’t grab the tail!)
And once he’s stopped freaking out, you can try grab them by the middle of the body
 

MangoPie

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Wondering how you are getting him out? Is he S’d up before you go to pick him up? Or is he turning around and biting you?

Is it possible you are not getting him out correctly?
Try use a hook to keep his head away while you grab him closer to the tail end (don’t grab the tail!)
And once he’s stopped freaking out, you can try grab them by the middle of the body

I usually just go in and swiftly pick him up by the middle of his body his body when he's out, doesn't really give him time to S up. He will just try to swiftly slither away, shows no signs of a strike pose really. Once I have him in my hands he looks a little confused for a moment. Not super ready to strike he just seems to be processing what happened lol. After that he's fine, nice and calm and likes to explore around on my hand.
 

Imported_tuatara

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I usually just go in and swiftly pick him up by the middle of his body his body when he's out, doesn't really give him time to S up
Yeah that's a bad idea and is deff why he's scared of you; try and follow the advice you've been given in this thread and there's a 99% chance he'll be a lot less scared.
 

GBWhite

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Hey there!
This might be a bit of a weird question, but I was wondering if anyone had any tips on bonding with your snake or if you shouldn't worry too much about that until they get a bit bigger.

I have a 7 month old Bredli Python and he handles really nicely in my oppinion. He was a little strikey when I first got him, but he hasn't tried to bite in quite a few weeks now. He's very calm when I have him in my hand.

Only downside is when I go to pick him up he tends to want to run away and I always feel bad that he might be scared. I want to make handling a positive experiance and I'm worried that his flighty behaviour means it's not so positive.

I don't think he's stressed out by handling overall. I only handle him about 10 minutes each day. He's usually back to being active and exploring about an hour after I put him back. He eats fine and has pretty typcial Bredli behaviour.

Would you suggest using a snake hook to try and lift him from his enclosure or try touching him before picking him up? I've seen this method with other snakes but I worry that might freak out a little carpet.

Unfortunately, the truth is that your snakes will never bond with you. It's just not something that snakes don't do. Given time it will get used to you and tolerate being handled but it will have no interest what so ever in bonding with you.

It moves away from you when you go to pick it up because, being a very young snake, IT IS scared as it still sees you as a possible predator. At this stage it doesn't know if your intention is to cause it harm or not and because of this it is activating its natural survival instinct to flee. Continually disturbing a snake just to handle it can be very stressful for a young snake (and even some adult Critters).

Handling a young snake for ten minutes every day is way too much. You say it is eating okay and if so it is advisable not to handle it for 24 (or even better 48 - 72) hours after consuming a meal. Once a snake has eaten all it wants to do is find a nice cosy, secure spot where it can rest up and digest the meal. If you want your snake to learn to trust you you need to leave it alone and keep handling to a minimum up until such time that it becomes used to you and aware that you have no intention in harming it. NEVER Grab it by the tail or around the middle of the body to get it out of its cage as this will "freak it out" and have a negative effect on gaining its trust....DON"T DO EITHER. If it's comfortable in its hide or perched on a branch don't disturb it just to get it out. Wait until it appears to be active and then, when you do need or want to get it out just gently lift it out using a small snake hook appropriate for the size of the snake and place it on your hand, arm or shoulder to let it explore you and get used to your scent. This and doing small things like not disturbing it when changing the water will assist in gaining the snake's trust.

Patience is the key word. Take your time letting the critter get used to you and the whole experience will be much more positive. Remember...Small wins over time lead to big wins in the end.

Cheers,

George.
 

MangoPie

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Hey guys! thanks for all the advice. There's so many differering oppinions out there when it comes to owning snakes so I apologize if I've been doing things the wrong way
Just wanted to clear a few things up and state where I'll be going from now on:

  • Don't worry I don't handle my snake for at least 48 hours after he's eaten. I make sure to give him time to properly digest his food
  • I know I said I handle for 10 minutes, I think that was a bit off-putting for some. The maximum I would do is 10 minutes but I usually stick to around the 5 minute mark
  • I'll probably reduce handling to every 2nd or 3rd day. He's quite small, so I now see how every day could be far too much for him. A source I referenced said you could do daily and gradually increase the time you hold them assuming they eat at the end of every week. I've had no feeding problems so far, but it's better to be safe rather than sorry.
  • I know I used the word 'bond', seems my intentions with that were unclear. I don't think my snake can 'bond' with me like a cat or a dog can, a better way to say it would be 'earning it's trust'. My goal is to basically have a snake that can be comfortably handled in the future, not to have a noodle puppy haha.
  • I'd consider my Bredli quite tame! He was a bit nippy when I first got him, but he has since calmed down considerably. He rests out and about during the day, and likes to come out and explore at night with no worries about being scared. He's nice, curious, and chill when he's in my hands and will always calmly slither back into his terrarium once I'm done handling him. He has plenty of hides to utilize if he needs to get some space. Wanted to elaborate on his normal behaviour as well to show he's not terribly stressed at the moment.
 

Sdaji

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People get pretty fanatical about this topic (and pretty much everything to do with any aspect of animals). As you've seen, there's plenty of contradictory advice. I almost never handle snakes just for the fun of it (I used to do it but it got old over 20 years ago for me). But, the snakes I maintain are virtually all great to handle. They get regular exposure to humans through feeding and cleaning etc, and as long as it's never harmful to them they just start to take you as a harmless part of the environment. I really don't think extra handling makes them more placid and if they're already scared by handling it can be counterproductive and makes them worse.

Something people never seem to mention or even realise when this topic comes up is that handling isn't handling. If for whatever reason I want to handle a snake within 24-48 hours or whatever of feeding, I do, and I don't think it's a problem. I have some friends I would happily allow to handle a snake like this, or one coming up for a shed, etc, but I wouldn't let most people handle a snake in that condition, because they're not good handlers. There's a huge difference between picking up a snake in a careful, supportive way and just having a look/letting it move as it pleases, and the type of handling your excited friends or newbie keepers are prone to. Over the years I've seen many bad handlers holding snakes while the snake freaks out and writhes around frantically, and then when a competent handler takes it the snake immediately relaxes and rests. When I do this people say the snake knows me or has some sort of telepathy letting it know I love snakes (sometimes I've never even seen the snake before) but in reality I just know how to hold a snake so that it's comfortable and I don't excitedly move it around or anything stupid. I could hold a snake with a fresh feed for an hour and it usually wouldn't be a problem, but some idiots would make the thing regurgitate within a short time or stress the poor thing out. Bad handling is definitely counterproductive, it will make the snake hate you, fear you, want to escape from you, and possibly try to bite you. I think the best type of interaction with a snake for making it like you is just being familiar with you as part of the environment in a way which causes it no discomfort.

Bredli are generally very relaxed snakes with placid natures, so you should be fine. They're very good snakes for beginners.
 

MangoPie

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People get pretty fanatical about this topic (and pretty much everything to do with any aspect of animals). As you've seen, there's plenty of contradictory advice. I almost never handle snakes just for the fun of it (I used to do it but it got old over 20 years ago for me). But, the snakes I maintain are virtually all great to handle. They get regular exposure to humans through feeding and cleaning etc, and as long as it's never harmful to them they just start to take you as a harmless part of the environment. I really don't think extra handling makes them more placid and if they're already scared by handling it can be counterproductive and makes them worse.

Something people never seem to mention or even realise when this topic comes up is that handling isn't handling. If for whatever reason I want to handle a snake within 24-48 hours or whatever of feeding, I do, and I don't think it's a problem. I have some friends I would happily allow to handle a snake like this, or one coming up for a shed, etc, but I wouldn't let most people handle a snake in that condition, because they're not good handlers. There's a huge difference between picking up a snake in a careful, supportive way and just having a look/letting it move as it pleases, and the type of handling your excited friends or newbie keepers are prone to. Over the years I've seen many bad handlers holding snakes while the snake freaks out and writhes around frantically, and then when a competent handler takes it the snake immediately relaxes and rests. When I do this people say the snake knows me or has some sort of telepathy letting it know I love snakes (sometimes I've never even seen the snake before) but in reality I just know how to hold a snake so that it's comfortable and I don't excitedly move it around or anything stupid. I could hold a snake with a fresh feed for an hour and it usually wouldn't be a problem, but some idiots would make the thing regurgitate within a short time or stress the poor thing out. Bad handling is definitely counterproductive, it will make the snake hate you, fear you, want to escape from you, and possibly try to bite you. I think the best type of interaction with a snake for making it like you is just being familiar with you as part of the environment in a way which causes it no discomfort.

Bredli are generally very relaxed snakes with placid natures, so you should be fine. They're very good snakes for beginners.

Thanks for the advice!
I can definitely agree about knowing how to handle a snake. I've been teaching my brother how to appropriately hold my snake as well-- having slow movements, not coming in from above, etc. He's very calm when I hold him and I think it's just a matter of learning their behaviour over time. I'd still be a bit uncomfortable holding a snake after it just ate or when it's in shed. If I had to I would, but it's obviously not something that would risk just because.

I'll do my best to make sure handling is a positive experiance. My pet's health and happiness comes before everything else, but I do enjoy the ability to be able to handle them
 

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Over the years I've seen many bad handlers holding snakes while the snake freaks out and writhes around frantically, and then when a competent handler takes it the snake immediately relaxes and rests. When I do this people say the snake knows me or has some sort of telepathy letting it know I love snakes (sometimes I've never even seen the snake before) but in reality I just know how to hold a snake so that it's comfortable and I don't excitedly move it around or anything stupid.
My wife used to like to invite people around to see my snakes, but i used to get upset because she wanted them to hold them and the snakes freaked out. as soon as i got them back they would calm down, I've made her stop now, because it's not a god damn petting zoo.
[doublepost=1548970427,1548970263][/doublepost]If someone is looking to buy a snake, i will let them have a hold.
 

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My wife used to like to invite people around to see my snakes, but i used to get upset because she wanted them to hold them and the snakes freaked out. as soon as i got them back they would calm down, I've made her stop now, because it's not a god damn petting zoo.
[doublepost=1548970427,1548970263][/doublepost]If someone is looking to buy a snake, i will let them have a hold.

Yeah, I'm much the same. When I was a teenager with snakes I had an endless stream of people wanting to come over to see/play with them, but almost 20 years ago I said it was enough, and it's unusual for me to have anyone play with any of my animals. For quarantine reasons, even if you want to buy it you generally don't get to play with it first. A lot of newbies don't like that, but the tradeoff to buyers is they can be confident they're getting a clean animal because no one else can play with them either, and the benefit to me is peace of mind with my paranoia-level attitude to quarantine having always worked. If you want to play before you buy, go to a pet shop and pay more. I don't say that cynically, you pay more but you can go in as often as you like, stare at them for hours on end and generally have a play first. I don't offer that service so I can afford to sell for less and have a much lower health risk. Each has its benefits. About 20 years ago when I used to let buyers hold stuff, I'd have to make them wash their hands etc. One day a family turned up saying they decided to make a reptile day of it and went to a couple of pet shops on the way to pick up snakes from me, and were surprised when I wouldn't let them touch anything or go anywhere near the herp room. I think that might have been the day I decided the collection was now closed and no one was going near it again :p
 
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