Getting started with Adders/Vens

Wolfgang5

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There have been two origins of albino Death Adders. Commons, which unfortunately were not viable, and Northerns, which are. I was the first person to produce albino Northern Death Adders and after producing them in good numbers I released them into the hobby.

Would you have any tips for someone who has never owned vens but would really love a death adder?
I have loved them since I was little, and have always wanted one, people have suggested going for something like a night tiger to get up some light ven experience but I don't see the point when they are completely different animal and I don't really have the same interest.
My top 2 dreams are a RBBS or a DA and I don't really have "reptile friends" to ask so any advice would be appreciated.
 

Sdaji

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Would you have any tips for someone who has never owned vens but would really love a death adder?

I can't give generic advice. Everyone is different. To some people I'd say "Go buy an Adder now", to others I'd say "Permanently forget the idea of owning an Adder". For most people it would be somewhere in between. I don't know you so I can't advise you personally.

I have loved them since I was little, and have always wanted one, people have suggested going for something like a night tiger to get up some light ven experience but I don't see the point when they are completely different animal and I don't really have the same interest.

I entirely agree with you on this point. If anything, getting a Night Tiger would be counter productive for most people; it doesn't teach you anything relevant and getting complacent with a mildly venomous snake that you can happily freehandle every day doesn't exactly teach you to stay diligently on your toes. A chainsaw of a Jungle Carpet would be much better because at least it'll teach you to stay on your toes and not get bitten, but really it's irrelevant. An Adder is a pretty unique snake and there's basically nothing else like it in Australia. Some of the vipers are comparable in terms of husbandry but they're not options in Australia and are themselves dangerous anyway.

My top 2 dreams are a RBBS or a DA and I don't really have "reptile friends" to ask so any advice would be appreciated.

I suggest taking a tip from the cute little taco girl.

Death Adders are extremely easy to keep. If they weren't venomous they would hands down be Australia's most popular snake and one of the most popular in the world. They're also extremely easy to handle as long as you can remember not to put your hand in strike range. You'll probably need to head grab to slough them at some stage.

Red-bellieds are pretty generic Elapids in terms of handling and care. I haven't owned one for many years now but I gave one to a friend for his 18th birthday over 10 years ago and I still regularly feed and water him when I'm around. That snake used to be easy to freehandle but for several years now has seen anything which moves as a meal, very much including humans, and he'll chase you down desperately trying to kill you (so he can eat you). It's very cute and fun, but would probably terrify the typical timid newbie.

As I said, I don't know you so I can't give you personalised advice. I learned by teaching myself back when I was a teenager who more or less was unaware of the fact that he was mortal. Back then there were no courses, I didn't know anyone who kept elapids, I'd never even heard of the internet, I was just a kid who went out and picked up the local Tiger Snakes by the tail, clumsily pinned them using the nearest stick, head grabbed them using the first grip which came to mind (which these days I would never use, but at the time I didn't know better, and hey, it did the job with Australian elapids anyway... I only learned a better grip when I caught my first rattle snake and was immediately told not to use my stupid Australian grips, and fortunately the guy saying that was my childhood hero so I listened, which definitely saved me from a Rattler envenomation). Back then I just applied for a license, under 18 as I was, the department didn't ask for parental permission or anything, they just sent me a license to keep elapids, and away I went. Back then that was pretty much the way people learned. If you weren't keen enough to learn that way, you probably weren't going to learn.

It sounds like you weren't one of those kids who ran around in bare feet catching the local snakes, so you could either find someone with a snake like the Red-bellied I described who is willing to let you watch them feed, water and clean it, and then give you a go, or you can do a course. I'm old school and don't like courses, but each to their own, I guess.
 

Wolfgang5

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I currently own an large MD, amongst other pythons, who whilst handlable, cannot always be trusted so I do get the idea of staying on my toes, he isn't defensive or out of control but I am always concious of him when entering the enclosure and he will lunge from time to time in and out of the enclosure.
So I do get that, when I said I don't have experience with vens, I meant keeping, I grew up on a farm and was the kid who like yourself would lift every sheet of iron in the paddock looking for snakes.
Again, grab the tail and use a forked stick to pin them down before choking the poor creature into a headlock and throwing them into an esky to take home, mainly browns, RBBS, copperheads.
I did this for years and used to catch wild pythons the same way.
Obviously now I have learn how cruel this was to assault an animal this way but as a young kid, I didn't know any different.
I'm far from inexperienced but an far from an expert.
My point was more about the up close and personal side to day to day keeping.
Do they have certain behaviour traits or personalities i should look for, those types of things.
Sorry I should have given more information when I asked

Thank you again
 
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Sdaji

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Sounds like you're already able to handle them confidently and won't freak out etc, so I'm not really sure what you need.

I don't know you well enough to give you advice, but it sounds like if I did I'd probably say something like 'Stop overthinking it and go buy some Adders and Red-bellieds'.

Keeping calm or semi snappy pythons probably does more harm than good; it gets you into the habit of taking 99.9% risks, because on the 0.1% of the time where you get bitten you don't think anything of it, and if you take these risks and never get bitten you figure you're doing everything perfectly. I often spend hours tending to hundreds of pythons without being bitten, but I'd never work with elapids with the same level of caution; I'd use a very different system which would take a lot more time, because I'm not trying to avoid 2 minutes of laughter and a speck of blood, I'm trying to avoid something potentially catastrophic. Something that absolutely constantly tries to bite you can train you if you say something like 'If I get bitten even once, I fail and have to start again, and I need to go a year without a bite before I can get my Red-bellied' or some such thing, but the problem there is that you're probably going to get your Red-bellied and it'll be a sweetheart, you'll be able to freehandle it if you want to, you'll be using a very different style of everything from handling, feeding, etc, so everything you learned was pointless, and then one day it bites you. For the most part, you just need the right mindset, which people generally either have or don't have. The actual skills required are negligible, but that's what people focus on. If you watch someone play with elapids you can immediately see if they're someone who should never again play with elapids, someone who could keep them as their first snakes, or someone who doesn't really fit into the usual categories (most people are in #1 or #2).

I'm not really sure what you're asking. It sounds like you just want someone to say 'Sure, you're ready, go for it'. It's not like there's some secret 'If they twitch their tail to the left in the afternoon it means they'll coil up like a spring and launch at you, which you can convince them not to by closing your left eye and holding one hand in the air' type thing. They're just snakes, it's not really rocket surgery. If you have common sense, which you probably do since you've caught good numbers of them without being bitten, and any experience keeping snakes, you should be fine.

Again, I can't be sure about anything to do with you without knowing you better and I'm just making some guesses about you, not giving you recommendations etc /disclaimer
 

Wolfgang5

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Sounds like you're already able to handle them confidently and won't freak out etc, so I'm not really sure what you need.

I don't know you well enough to give you advice, but it sounds like if I did I'd probably say something like 'Stop overthinking it and go buy some Adders and Red-bellieds'.

Keeping calm or semi snappy pythons probably does more harm than good; it gets you into the habit of taking 99.9% risks, because on the 0.1% of the time where you get bitten you don't think anything of it, and if you take these risks and never get bitten you figure you're doing everything perfectly. I often spend hours tending to hundreds of pythons without being bitten, but I'd never work with elapids with the same level of caution; I'd use a very different system which would take a lot more time, because I'm not trying to avoid 2 minutes of laughter and a speck of blood, I'm trying to avoid something potentially catastrophic. Something that absolutely constantly tries to bite you can train you if you say something like 'If I get bitten even once, I fail and have to start again, and I need to go a year without a bite before I can get my Red-bellied' or some such thing, but the problem there is that you're probably going to get your Red-bellied and it'll be a sweetheart, you'll be able to freehandle it if you want to, you'll be using a very different style of everything from handling, feeding, etc, so everything you learned was pointless, and then one day it bites you. For the most part, you just need the right mindset, which people generally either have or don't have. The actual skills required are negligible, but that's what people focus on. If you watch someone play with elapids you can immediately see if they're someone who should never again play with elapids, someone who could keep them as their first snakes, or someone who doesn't really fit into the usual categories (most people are in #1 or #2).

I'm not really sure what you're asking. It sounds like you just want someone to say 'Sure, you're ready, go for it'. It's not like there's some secret 'If they twitch their tail to the left in the afternoon it means they'll coil up like a spring and launch at you, which you can convince them not to by closing your left eye and holding one hand in the air' type thing. They're just snakes, it's not really rocket surgery. If you have common sense, which you probably do since you've caught good numbers of them without being bitten, and any experience keeping snakes, you should be fine.

Again, I can't be sure about anything to do with you without knowing you better and I'm just making some guesses about you, not giving you recommendations etc /disclaimer


All good, because I had no experience in keeping them, I didn't know if there was something unique to keeping vens Vs pythons other than don't get bit.

I've had my pythons for some time and never asked advice or had anyone teach me, I just learnt on the fly.
Up until recently when I discovered this forum, i just worked it out on my own through reading and learning, I guess taking that step from something that at worst case would cause a few stitches, to something that could potentially cost my life was a little daunting and I thought while I had the opportunity to ask someone with experience for advice i would take it and see if there was anything I should be aware of before taking the next step and bringing one home.


Thank you, much appreciated
 

Sdaji

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With a few exceptions, other than the venom, large elapids are generally easier to keep than pythons. Small elapids are pretty difficult (mainly due to feeding and temperature sensitivity, also moisture issues for some species). Again, other than the venom, large elapids are easier to handle than pythons, with very few exceptions. Elapids do $#!t more often and it smells worse (Adders are an exception to the frequency rule there, but very much stick to the rule in terms of the smell).

Red-bellieds and Adders are both brilliant to keep. Very easy, very tough as long as you don't get things very wrong. If you're confident and sensible you shouldn't have any issues. Adders tend to have sloughing issues when young but slough very well once they've put on a bit of size. Make sure they slough their tails fully or you'll end up having their lures drop off, and the lure is one of the most fun aspects of keeping them. Red-bellieds are just plain tough snakes, it's difficult to go wrong with them.
 

Wolfgang5

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With a few exceptions, other than the venom, large elapids are generally easier to keep than pythons. Small elapids are pretty difficult (mainly due to feeding and temperature sensitivity, also moisture issues for some species). Again, other than the venom, large elapids are easier to handle than pythons, with very few exceptions. Elapids do $#!t more often and it smells worse (Adders are an exception to the frequency rule there, but very much stick to the rule in terms of the smell).

Red-bellieds and Adders are both brilliant to keep. Very easy, very tough as long as you don't get things very wrong. If you're confident and sensible you shouldn't have any issues. Adders tend to have sloughing issues when young but slough very well once they've put on a bit of size. Make sure they slough their tails fully or you'll end up having their lures drop off, and the lure is one of the most fun aspects of keeping them. Red-bellieds are just plain tough snakes, it's difficult to go wrong with them.


That's perfect thank you, I appreciate this so much.

I think for me having reptiles is more about building a mutual respect/understanding rather than being a hero and owning big tough snake.
Everything I read pointed to the same thing and I think you have just confirmed this again, we need to accept the animal for what it is and respect that.
I have a lot of patience for them and have always tried to understand their psychology and behaviour and let them guide me as opposed to me trying to train them to be what I wanted them to be.

I think that was/is one of the best lesson I could have learnt.
That and to seek advice when I need it.

Just one more thing, In terms of new ownership, is it better to seek out a slightly older snake who has a head start on keeper interaction or start off fresh and work from there?
 

Sdaji

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Just one more thing, In terms of new ownership, is it better to seek out a slightly older snake who has a head start on keeper interaction or start off fresh and work from there?

Apples, oranges, lengths of string, horses and courses, beauty and beholders...
 

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