Aggressive baby boa

Aggressive baby boa

Postby StevenT » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:40 am

Hi guys, I need some advice please. I bought a beautiful baby boa (Lucy) from Clint at Royal designer reptiles at the last expo. Not sure how old she is, but she is feeding on hopper mice/rat pups. Tuesday was feeding day, so thawed out the mouse over night on Monday, as I wanted to feed her before I went to work on Tuesday, because I knew I was going to have a hectic day and wasn't sure what time I'd be home. Tuesday morning, I took the blow dryer and heated the mouse just slightly before feeding Lucy. I feed her in a rack tub so I can keep it nice and clean and its easier to disinfect after mealtimes. Usually, she'll grab the mouse as soon as I lower it into the tub and squeeze it a bit before eating, but Tuesday she didn't seem interested much. So I left the mouse in the tub with her and left for work. The tub is set up with the correct heat and humidity by the way. So I worked late on Tuesday and my wife decided to let her back in her cage when she got home (we usually just open the tub inside the cage and let her slither out herself before removing the tub. We do not handle her as to not have a regurgitation on our hands). This time however she sailed out of the tub and started striking at my wife. Now look, it took 2 years of pleading to get the snake in the first place as my wife is really scared of snakes. But since we got her my wife learned to love the little snake and handled her regularly, so she wasn't afraid of Lucy any more, until this incident, now she is terrified again. The striking didn't stop there however, she kept striking at the glass when my wife came in to check on her, and she tried to strike at me when i got home. So we left her alone to not stress her out any further, thinking she was in "eat" mode still, but this morning when I checked on her again, she looked like her old self, until I took her out of her cage, after which she started striking at the air again. Is something stressing her out or could something else be causing this? Please help a guy out, thanks.
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby Mitton » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:20 am

Was she calm before this, even after eating?
I take it she did eat the mouse? If she did, maybe she felt a bit vulnerable with a full stomach, especially with the colder weather.

Also, you say the feeding tub is set up with the correct heat and humidity, how do you measure it, how big is the tub and how is the temp monitored\controlled?

I would not worry too much, give her some time to digest the mouse and I am sure she will be her old self again in a couple of days.
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby StevenT » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:37 am

Thanks for the reply Mitton. She did eat the mouse yes. Jip, as calm as can be before this incident, this was the 5th feeding since I bought her, never had this happen. The tub is about as big as two 2lt ice cream tubs if I had to roughly estimate. I have a heat pad that I place the tub on about a quarter of the size of the tub in one corner and I have newspaper at the bottom. I have a small water bowl that I get the humidity from (The tub is basicly permanently set up so the humidity doesn't fluctuate) The heat pad is connected to a thermostat that controls the heat inside the tub and I have two thermometer/hygrometer combos on each side inside the tub. I really hope that she will calm down, I was so happy when my wife decided to start handling her and overcame her fear in a sense, but now she doesn't want to go near her anymore.
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby Dillock » Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:38 pm

StevenT I'm far from certain and i don't know what triggered it maybe someone else can help you but I believe she may have learnt that if she strikes at you she won't be picked up… This can happen if a snake strikes and the owner just leaves it alone. If you take her out she may try strike but you should continue holding her and hopefully she will calm down and learn that striking won't get her anywhere. I stand to be Corrected but in my opinion that could be why. (Its un fortunate that this started with your wife.)

best of luck!
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby Dillock » Thu Jun 05, 2014 1:39 pm

P.S let her digest her meal a bit before you take her up again.
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby StevenT » Thu Jun 05, 2014 2:30 pm

Hi Dill, I'll keep that in mind. I do know that I definitely do not want to sit with a 2m+ boa at the end of the day that thinks its normal to strike the hand that feeds it, so I'll take the brunt of the bites now and try and teach her it wont help to strike rather than having to risk losing a finger when she's grown. Thanks for the advice guys.
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby sgmpanza5 » Thu Jun 05, 2014 4:18 pm

I'm not sure if snakes can reason like like that ie. striking won't prevent being handled., but it certainly worked for me as well. My female RTB was a hisser and a striker a few months ago but I was not deterred by her behaviour. I would continue picking her up even if she hissed and struck. After a few pick-ups she was fine and has not hissed nor struck ever since.

I would suggest handling your snake more often especially in front of your wife. Your wife will notice the change in behaviour (hopefully) of your snake and may ease up to it eventually. That's what I did and it worked for me.
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby Jamster » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:09 pm

Snakes do not figure out that if they hiss and perform they won't get picked up.They may instinctively behave in a certain way to deter potential attackers. That is my opinion anyways.

Many snakes especially younger individuals feel threatened as they are vulnerable due to their small size. As mentioned they can feel vulnerable after feeding. You can make the snake feel more secure by adding extra hiding places/foliage. After she has eaten put newspaper on front of the enclosure for a couple of days. This usually stops them from striking and stressing.

I have found that especially with young aggressive snakes, hesitation is your worst enemy. If you intend to pick her up then do so the first time. By hesitating and pulling your hand back when she starts hissing you are essentially taunting her. I have a pair of very aggressive baby boas that have a go at me on a regular basis. They have not tagged me once yet when I pick them up without hesitation, but everytime I have hesitated and moved my hand in again a second time they have grabbed me.

RTB's often have their good and their bad days. A ball python may have been a less risky option to introduce your wife to snakes.

Good luck bud!
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby RaD » Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:32 pm

in the blue maybe? that can cause snakes to be more defensive than usual. also, snakes will bite, and you will get bitten. that's part of the hobby.

It's important to not to be scared or jumpy and assertively handle the snake, but please don't stress the animal out. sometimes overhandling can have the opposite effect of the desired calmness. In my experience, proper husbandry goes a long way in keeping snakes calm, so I'm glad you seem to have that covered. Don't let this stress you out, just be calm.

Have a look at Snake Bytes latest video called "Snake Attack". Bryan is amazing with this kind of stuff.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU-UMs-gfRQ
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby StevenT » Fri Jun 06, 2014 7:50 am

Thanks for the help guys, RaD, it could maybe be early days before a shed, but no signs of that yet, no "milky" colour developing on the eyes etc yet, but I'll keep an eye on that. Last night I took her out again, at first when I lifted her hide she did go into a bit of an S coil like she maybe wanted to strike, but I took her out regardless and she seemed okay. Maybe it was just a bit of bad mood. As to being bitten, thats a given, been bitten plenty of times, but this is the first time a snakes behaviour changed over night. I dealt mainly with corns before the boa, so perhaps the temperaments are a bit different. I'll keep you guys updated, but for now, seems she is in a better mood.
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby StevenT » Fri Jun 06, 2014 8:03 am

Image Here's a photo of the little terrorist, she is a from Clint's Copper line
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby JJward7 » Fri Jun 06, 2014 10:46 am

if you look at the eye closely i think she will be going into the blue soon as her eyes looks like they are a lil milky.
I think i saw your baby at the expo Clint showed me the marking on her tail but i decided on getting another one of his babies she was going to be my first choice untill i fell inlove with the lil baby i got.
Every good story seems to begin with a snake.
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby Whitelipp » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:42 am

StevenT I have an Albino boa that is now almost 2 years old, She is a devil. She is always hissing and striking no matter what I do. I can pick her up handle her do what ever she is always in a devil mood!
Im not keeping her to handle and be a comfort animal so I'm now just keeping her as a HOT. Feed her clean her and make sure shes happy thats about it.
But yea I am a little excited to see how she will be when shes 2meters. She will surely be a hand full!

It seems to me that you want this animal to be handled and you want to "enjoy" the snake more. Then I would also suggest try and handle it as much as possible. Hope you have more perseverance than me but after a year I have given up trying to tame the beast.
Dont bite, strike!!!!

Dont keep it real, keep it EXOTIC!!!
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby StevenT » Fri Jun 13, 2014 1:16 pm

Hi Whitelipp, yeah, the big thing for me is the sudden mood change, after being dead calm to the opposite side of the spectrum of being overly aggressive. Its true that I would like to have a pet that I'm not weary of, but the main reason is for my wife, she accepts my interests in snakes, and I don't want to find another "hobby" if you'd like to call it that. But I also don't want my wife to be afraid in her own home, worrying that Lucy, or how she affectionately renamed her "Demon child", might escape. I'll keep you guys updated on the progress, it's been one feeding since she started acting out, she was much calmer after her meal than she was the time before, but three days later, when lifting her hide to check on her, I was greeted by with some hissing and a few strikes up in the air.
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Re: Aggressive baby boa

Postby StevenT » Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:38 pm

Okay guys, so its been 7 months and no improvement in the boa, she actually has become worse if that's at all possible. If I didn't know any better, I'd say she has a psychopathic personality. Sunday was feeding day and as always, thawed my mice out, warmed them up a little under a heatlamp and as soon as I opened her enclosure, she came out of her hide on a mission. I placed the mouse in the enclosure and watched her (this was a few days after she shed) and she literally attacked the dead mouse. Struck at it a few times, grabbed it, put the squeeze on it then pulled her mouth off it and continued to bite it a few times before leaving it in the corner, taking a sail around the enclosure, came back and swallowed it. Handling hasn't become any easier, she lets me take her out and waits for the perfect opportunity to scare the cr@p out of me, by letting me think it's a calm day today, then strikes at me. Close to giving up, so stay tuned, we might have a boa give away one of these days hahahaha
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