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Old 10-09-2006, 01:13 AM
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natas natas is offline
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Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?


Most boids fall into the handling of larger, heavy bodied snakes. The most inportant thing you need to keep in mind when handling boids is that they need to "NEED TO FEEL SECURE" at all times. Thus you need to make sure that they are "SUPPORTED" at ALL times when handling.

When you first go to pick up your snake from it's enclosure I reccommend the following steps. First, let your snake know of your presence. What I do to let the snake know I'm there is to "wave " my hand outside the enclosure , yet in the snake's view. If your snake acknowledges your presence you'll know by the tongue flicking and movement of the snake. If you were to just reach into your snake's enclosure and touch the snake while it's sleeping, you could startle the snake. A startled snake "MAY" strike out in responce to such action. After your snake knows of your presence just reach into the enclosure and "pet" the snake about 1/3 - 1/2 down the length of it's body. This will let the snake know of your intentions. Now in order to pick up your snake and keep it supported while extracting it from it's enclosure, do the following. Place one hand "FIRMLY YET GENTLY" around the snake's body 1/3 - 1/2 down the length of the snake. With your other hand grasp the snake "FIRMLY YET GENTLY" a little ways down from it's neck. DO NOT GRAB YOUR SNAKE BY THE HEAD OR RIGHT NEAR THE HEAD. They do NOT like to be constrained and shall let you know of this. Now that you have the snake in your grasp lift it out of the enclosure. As said before...SUPPORT YOUR SNAKE AT ALL TIMES!

Once you have the snake out if it's enclosure you can let it "HANG OUT" either on your body or such place as a chair back. Boids generally will 'chill out" when removed from their enclosure. NEVER get too comfortable knowing this, as many a Boa has been lost due to taking your eyes off it for "just a moment" in time. I personally have lost a BCI doing such...luckily I did find him BUT not until about 5 months later. A lot of people will let their snakes "hang out" around their neck. This can be done in a safe manner, and you should remember that if you have a large boid type snake
, they are VERY STRONG CONSTRICTORS. Once my boids reach a length of 6' , I do NOT place them or let them "hang" around my neck. Under such length, and slao depending on how they act when hanging on the neck, I'll let them. If you should allow a snake to "hang" around your neck, always make sure that they do NOT tighten up directly on your neck. I generally use the rule of NOT allowing a snake to tighten around the neck any closer than being able to fit a fist between the snake and the neck. Most of my snakes have grown accustomed to this and no longer try to tighten beyond this point.
For the larger snakes they will "hang" over your shoulders with no problems. It is also advisable to have more then 1 person available at ALL times when handling the larger snakes such as boids, especially once they reach a length in excess of 6'.

Should you decide to let your snake "hang out" on something such as a chair, especially those with a ladderback type style. Just be prepared to "unwrap" the snake from the chair. To feel secure snakes will wrap themselves around such things as arms and the ladder of chairbacks.

To unwrap a snake from where it has "anchored" itself you'll need to work with the snake. ALLWAYS start "unwrapping" a snake from the tail end first. Depending on the size of the snake and how fast it can re-wrap itself compared to your ability to unwrap it....YOU MAY NEED MORE THAN ONE PERSON to "unwrap" the snake. Just unwrap the snake's tail from where it is anchored, following the route that the snake's tail has taken.


Colubrids, unlike boids, generally do NOT "chill" out when handling as far as staying still in one spot goes.These snakes are usually CONSTANTLY ON THE MOVE. Use the same method to actually get your snake out of it's enclosure as described above. Of course there is the usual exception to every rule though. These are the ones that no matter what your doing, if your hand goes into the enclosure, it's gonna get struck at.
SOME snakes, especially colubrids, require a quick , no hesitation method of getting them out of their enclosure. For these ones, which I have a couple of {Argentine rainbow and my Northern Pine] ..Just reach into the enclosure and pick them up before they realize what your doing. :}

For this type of snake that generally "keeps moving" when your handling them, your gonna have to keep moving with them :}. While handling this type of snake allow it to keep moving through your hands, at the same time keeping a "FIRM YET GENTLE" hold onto the snake. As the snake moves forward through your hands you'll need to adapt to the "hand - over- hand method" of handling. For this method ALL you need to do is to keep replacing your hand most forward on the snake's body with the one that is toward the back end, just like feeding a line of rope out. The snake will be happy as it will still be moving as far as it's concerned.


Sorry BUT this type of snake is best left to the EXPERIENCED ONLY. Seeing that I am NOT such, and this is NOT something we want to endorse here....information regarding such given shall be non-existant. If you require such information you need to get in touch with an EXPERIENCED HOTS HANDLER. IWOULD ADVISE THOSE WISHING TO LEARN HOW TO BECOME EXPERIENCED IN HANDLING HOTS TO ALSO LEARN FROM AN EXPERIENCED HANDLER OF HOTS. THIS IS NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN READ ABOUT.

Keep in mind that your snake "needs" to be handled often in order to maintain a level of docility/tameness. You should handle your snake as often as every few days for a minimum of 15 minutes time to ensure this. There are times when you should NOT handle your snake though. Such being when the snake has been fed. It is reccommended to NOT handle a snake for 48 hours after feeding. Excluding of course the minimal amount of handling that may be required to place your snake back into it's enclosure after feeding it. Another time would be when your snake is in shed cycle, from the time it is apparently in blue till such time that it has completed shed. Some people will also reccommend NOT handling a snake for a few days after the completed shed, relating this to being a time when the snake's "skin" is like that of a sunburn effect.


Occasionally you will come across a snake that you obtain that doesn't want to be handled and shall let you know of such. Obviously your going to need to break the snake of this in order to be able to "handle" the snake and keep it at a level of "tame". There are a few different reccommendations available to help in this area. The reason your snake could be NOT wanting to be handled could be that it has NOT reached a level of security with you or it's environment, for one example.

**Try placing one of your t-shirts in the snake's enclosure. This will get the snake to "KNOW" your
scent and should then see you as NOT a threat to him/her. UHH..I'm NOT refering to one just
out of the wash smelling of downy either :P

**Place your snake in a pillowcase and handle him/her while in there.

**Let your snake settle down when you first obtain it prior to trying to handle it for about a week or

**Use gloves when handling the snake at first. This can provide a barrier to the striking until the
snake decides that you mean it no harm and stops striking out.

**Just handle the snake and take the strikes "LIKE A MAN" , LOL , so to say. Your snake will
eventually realize that you are NOt a threat and should allow you to handle it :}.

NOTE: Please do NOT copy/use elsewhere without prior consent.TYIA.


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Old 09-16-2008, 03:26 AM
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PhillyAnt PhillyAnt is offline
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Re: Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?

Good read!
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Old 10-08-2009, 09:22 PM
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Re: Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?

A few good points there
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Old 10-12-2009, 08:17 AM
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Re: Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?

Good stuff. Take those strikes like a man lol.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:50 PM
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Re: Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?

i take the strikes like a man! -flexes- lol
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Old 02-02-2010, 10:04 PM
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Deadly_Legend Deadly_Legend is offline
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Re: Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?

great read, and since im getting my first soon this will help, and i like the shirt in the housing part, im going to do that one now strikes like a man will be funny to watch
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:32 PM
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Nyx Nyx is offline
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Re: Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?

A great read. Taught me I was unwrapping from the wrong end. Poor snakes must think I am wacked. lol No bites yet, thankfully.
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Old 02-03-2010, 04:50 PM
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Re: Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?

I'm happy to be seeing all sort of educations posts and videos this week. Very nice.
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:53 PM
snakeman70 snakeman70 is offline
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Re: Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?

I like to gently rub my boa with a snake stick or the handle of her hook....she will almost always try to climb up the stick or hook after just a few strokes. You bring up a very good point , not to just reach in and grab the snake as it might be sleeping or get startled. You would be surprised how many people just reach in and grab them and then get mad when they get bit. I also agree with you on the matter of NOT touching them by their head . My girl is getting better about having me touch her head but she still doesn't like me to touch her tail. Once I get them out of their enclosure my favorite way to hold them is to drape them over one shoulder with their head and the front half of their body in front of me. Most snake books tell you not to do this, but as you point out they need to feel secure and to know you wont drop them. So for me this is the way I am most comfortable holding her. I think it is important to handle them the same way.......or at least try to , each time you take them out. This way they get used to the way you handle them .
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Old 09-02-2010, 09:32 PM
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LSDillinger LSDillinger is offline
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Re: Handling your Snake....Just how do I go about it ?

I love the "like a man" bit that's awesome stuff. There's this really bad tempered coastal banded kingsnake at my local pet shop, I've sort of made it my personal mission to handle him every time I go in for mice or to hit on the girl that works there or whatever, it always amazes the staff that I take the three or four hits he lands in the process of getting him out of the tank. One day I'll tame him. If not, I'll buy him and set him free or just never handle him or something, I can't stand the thought of a snake growing old in a pet store, even a nice pet store is no place for a snake to spend much time.
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