Frequency of handling for Stimsons Pythons

GoldenBee

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Hello,
I've been reading and watching quite a lot specifically regarding the stimson pythons. I have minimal experience with reptiles other than handling a friends snakes, and some wild lizards. I understand that the general consensus for reptiles is that they tolerate but don't like being handled? I was trying to figure out how frequently they should/can be handled (to avoid aggressive/scared behaviour when it is necessary to handle them). A lot of literature says to handle, paticularly juvenile snakes, frequently to get them used to you. From anyone with more experience, what would you actually recommend.
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Sdaji

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Don't handle them until you've established a routine feeding pattern. Then if you want to handle (this is entirely for your enjoyment, they just tolerate it) you can start handling it to amuse yourself. If the snake is still calm and continues feeding with no issues etc, you can handle more and more for as long as no harm is being done until your thirst for snake handling is satisfied. Most snakes will tolerate a lot of handling as long as you're not getting them excessively hot or cold or being rough with them etc.
 

Susannah

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I left my little guy alone for months to settle in - just handling for feeding and cleaning water/cage etc. Once there is a bit of routine established you can generally get an idea
from their behavior about how much to handle them. My guy never gets snappy. Only bitten twice, both times with food present. He will tolerate a daily "cuddle" but also perfectly happy to be left alone for weeks, only to be "bothered" for food. They're not cats or dogs. They don't need a cuddle. It's about how much *you* need/want to handle them and how much they can tolerate/cope with. Stimmy's tend to be very docile and tolerant even at a young age, which is why I love them so much.
 

Colin41

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I left my little guy alone for months to settle in - just handling for feeding and cleaning water/cage etc. Once there is a bit of routine established you can generally get an idea
from their behavior about how much to handle them. My guy never gets snappy. Only bitten twice, both times with food present. He will tolerate a daily "cuddle" but also perfectly happy to be left alone for weeks, only to be "bothered" for food. They're not cats or dogs. They don't need a cuddle. It's about how much *you* need/want to handle them and how much they can tolerate/cope with. Stimmy's tend to be very docile and tolerant even at a young age, which is why I love them so much.
Thanks Susannah, that was good information.
 

GoldenBee

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Thank you, that's very helpful. I suspected that very frequent handling was more for humans enjoyment that actual benefit to the snake , but some comments and literature about 'getting snakes used to handling' for safety reasons (ie less chance of getting bitten, more comfort for the snake due to the handler being someone familar) had me a little confused about what an expert would actually recommend in regards to an appropriate amount of interaction between snakes and humans
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Don't handle them until you've established a routine feeding pattern. Then if you want to handle (this is entirely for your enjoyment, they just tolerate it) you can start handling it to amuse yourself. If the snake is still calm and continues feeding with no issues etc, you can handle more and more for as long as no harm is being done until your thirst for snake handling is satisfied. Most snakes will tolerate a lot of handling as long as you're not getting them excessively hot or cold or being rough with them etc.
Thank you, this is honestly very helpful. I wasn't advocating handling purely for human enjoyment, in fact I'm opposed to it. The literature and many comments I've read from others had me honestly confused regarding what level is recommended, as it seems many people do this and i wasn't sure if there was a legitimate reason for handling outside of the obvious instances where its unavoidable. I'd hate to stress out an animal due to my own ignorance. Cheers Georgia
 
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Sdaji

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Thank you, that's very helpful. I suspected that very frequent handling was more for humans enjoyment that actual benefit to the snake , but some comments and literature about 'getting snakes used to handling' for safety reasons (ie less chance of getting bitten, more comfort for the snake due to the handler being someone familar) had me a little confused about what an expert would actually recommend in regards to an appropriate amount of interaction between snakes and humans
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Thank you, this is honestly very helpful. I wasn't advocating handling purely for human enjoyment, in fact I'm opposed to it. The literature and many comments I've read from others had me honestly confused regarding what level is recommended, as it seems many people do this and i wasn't sure if there was a legitimate reason for handling outside of the obvious instances where its unavoidable. I'd hate to stress out an animal due to my own ignorance. Cheers Georgia

No need to be fanatical about it. I almost never handle snakes just for the sake of handling, but I know a lot of people want to, and if it makes them happy and they do it a little it's no big deal. Other than to familiarise yourself with handling snakes there's no real benefit. I don't believe handling makes them less bitey; plenty of snakes which have literally never been handled will handle perfectly well, and of the hundreds of snakes I've raised, very few have been deliberately handled other than very briefly for cleaning etc, and they handle perfectly well. When you get a high strung snake, extra handling usually makes it worse, and snakes improving over time 'due to handling' are usually calming down in spite of rather than because of handling. One sort of exception is that handling can make them less prone to feed bites when putting hands into the enclosure (often completely incorrectly called 'cage defensive', which is virtually always feed aggression rather than anything defensive or scared). Even the feed response issue is better dealt with by picking the snake up with a hook rather than the dubious method of getting the snake used to being picked up from the enclosure by the hands (totally fine if you know what you're doing, but if not, just use a hook, or, hey, routinely pick it up with your hands out of the enclosure, I don't care, but it's a lot of work with virtually no benefit). I see no benefit to the snake in gratuitous handling, but human enjoyment does have value, so if people want to handle them it's probably a positive for that reason. Plenty of people, especially kids, form a lifelong love or at least respect for snakes after handling them, so I suppose it benefits snakes as a whole group.
 

GoldenBee

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No need to be fanatical about it. I almost never handle snakes just for the sake of handling, but I know a lot of people want to, and if it makes them happy and they do it a little it's no big deal. Other than to familiarise yourself with handling snakes there's no real benefit. I don't believe handling makes them less bitey; plenty of snakes which have literally never been handled will handle perfectly well, and of the hundreds of snakes I've raised, very few have been deliberately handled other than very briefly for cleaning etc, and they handle perfectly well. When you get a high strung snake, extra handling usually makes it worse, and snakes improving over time 'due to handling' are usually calming down in spite of rather than because of handling. One sort of exception is that handling can make them less prone to feed bites when putting hands into the enclosure (often completely incorrectly called 'cage defensive', which is virtually always feed aggression rather than anything defensive or scared). Even the feed response issue is better dealt with by picking the snake up with a hook rather than the dubious method of getting the snake used to being picked up from the enclosure by the hands (totally fine if you know what you're doing, but if not, just use a hook, or, hey, routinely pick it up with your hands out of the enclosure, I don't care, but it's a lot of work with virtually no benefit). I see no benefit to the snake in gratuitous handling, but human enjoyment does have value, so if people want to handle them it's probably a positive for that reason. Plenty of people, especially kids, form a lifelong love or at least respect for snakes after handling them, so I suppose it benefits snakes as a whole group.
Didnt mean to come across as fanatical and anti-handling all together. I just know someone with a 'snappy' younger snake and they handle it regularly to try get it used to being held, they've been advised to do this by another reptile owner that works at a pet shop. Its frustrating that advice like this is being circulated around if it really doesn't help. I've seen other snakes much more comfortable during handling (ie gentle tongue flicking, inquisitive, not tense). so its good to read your advice on giving them more time and space rather than less to help reach that point.
Didn't want to make mistakes because I copied somone else or took the wrong advice. I really do appreciate the discussion, I'm sure i sound like an idiot but i want to learn as much as i can before I actually take the step to caring for an animal that I'm not experienced with. Many thanks
 

Sdaji

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Didnt mean to come across as fanatical and anti-handling all together. I just know someone with a 'snappy' younger snake and they handle it regularly to try get it used to being held, they've been advised to do this by another reptile owner that works at a pet shop. Its frustrating that advice like this is being circulated around if it really doesn't help. I've seen other snakes much more comfortable during handling (ie gentle tongue flicking, inquisitive, not tense). so its good to read your advice on giving them more time and space rather than less to help reach that point.
Didn't want to make mistakes because I copied somone else or took the wrong advice. I really do appreciate the discussion, I'm sure i sound like an idiot but i want to learn as much as i can before I actually take the step to caring for an animal that I'm not experienced with. Many thanks
You certainly didn't come across like an idiot, or anything less than perfectly reasonable. Text can obviously carry messages poorly at times, sorry if I inadvertently implied any sort of insult or condescension, it certainly wasn't intended and wouldn't be warranted.

Glad you're appreciating the discussion :)
 

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My Stimson and Childrens Python enjoy being handled, at first they can be quite active but settle pretty quickly. I actually had to spend quite some time in Hospital recently and they allowed me to have one of my Snakes come in as a therapy animal. Everyone was amazed how chilled they are, he got a few new fans. what I do is I open the enclosure door and they come out on their own into my hands, sometimes I will lift them out by hand. Yes I do enjoy their company so that is for my gratification but one likes to curl up in my shirt pocket and stay there for hours on end. They say that snakes don't have emotions, I disagree, they get scarred and that is an emotion. I believe they don't show it like a dog or cat but they do show it in other ways, you need to sensitive to their ways and acceptable to the understanding of their personalities and you will see for yourself. Some people get annoyed when I say all this but this is how I operate and I love them all.
 
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