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I Am Scared to Hold Our Baby Red Tail Boa! Help!

Discussion in 'Common/Red Tail Boa' started by MarissaEmerita, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. MarissaEmerita

    MarissaEmerita New Member

    We just got our little girl Saturday afternoon. She is our first pet snake and is very small, maybe about 2 feet long or smaller. We have her set up in an over sized enclosure with lots of green, plenty of areas for her to bask and lots of warm places for her to rest which she really seems to enjoy. My fiance has owned snakes before but he was younger and his pet snakes both died. I on the other hand have never owned a snake and LOVE the idea of them as I love ALL animals equally but I am afraid to hold her. I have handled her a few times but I start to freak when she gets into an S shape and/ or turns her face towards my body. I am also very scared of getting bitten although I know her teeth wont do any harm. My fiance says I will know when or if she is going to strike and that not all S shapes she makes means she is going to bite. I want to get over this fear because I want to be able to care for her without having to have my fiance supervise all the time. Any suggestions or thoughts??

  2. diehardislanders

    diehardislanders Elite Member

    You just have to do it. The more you handle the more the snake will trust you and you will trust the snake. Dont restrict the snake when handling.
  3. iggy14

    iggy14 New Member

    Re: I Am Scared to Hold Our Baby Red Tail Boa! Help

    ummmmmm just stay calm and u should be fine if u try to pick it up and it gets in the s position get a stick or some thing and nug its head or the backside of its ciol she will turn and slither away then you should be able to just grab her and hold her ...... dont grab her to fast though
  4. MarissaEmerita

    MarissaEmerita New Member

    Re: I Am Scared to Hold Our Baby Red Tail Boa! Help

    What if she gets into the S position while I am handling her? Does that mean she will strike?
  5. Khelmoria

    Khelmoria Elite Member

    Re: I Am Scared to Hold Our Baby Red Tail Boa! Help

    My baby corn snake is often in the "S" position when I hold him. it seems to be a natural snake position. You should just handle your snake as much as you can. the more comfortable they are with you, the less likely you will get bitten. I always reminded myself that if my snake was aggressive he would have bitten by now. Naturally enough all snakes bite, but getting it used to you will help.
  6. atone2308

    atone2308 Well-Known Member

    every time i go to take my emerald tree boa out she quickly goes into an s on her perch, but has yet to bite me or even strike. i've had to help her shed and she never even acted like she was going to bit. just don't pull back and if you think she is going to strike what i've always done is cuf your hand.. put fingers and thumb together and lower towards her slow so if she bites it won't be a lone finger it would be more of the hand( this is for small snakes never done it on a 15 foot long most of the time they will bounce off your hand hitting there nose... i had to break my red tail like that when i got her she was mean as ****... good luck:)
  7. uncertainsky

    uncertainsky Elite Member

    Re: I Am Scared to Hold Our Baby Red Tail Boa! Help

    Only if you scare her. Rember she doesn't want to bite she only will if she feels threatened. So no sudden movements just slow and gentle. Don't force her to go anywhere just let her roam. You can gently guide her if she heads in a direction you don't want her going by putting your palm in front but not too close of her nose to block her path.
  8. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    You should not be handling her at this point. She needs at least a week to settle in without the stress of handling.
  9. Zappa230

    Zappa230 Elite Member

    When you want to begin handling, I recommend you just pet them at first while somebody else holds them, or just do it!
  10. Katsura

    Katsura Elite Member

    One thing I would like to add, is that there is indeed a difference between a striking "s" and a relaxed "s". As you hold your new baby and interact with her, you will learn her body language. But it takes time. And don't be afraid to get bitten; I've heard the shock of it is worse than the bite itself... at least with the smaller (baby) snakes.

    edit: one thing I forgot to mention is that sometimes snakes will "bluff" strike. That basically means that they strike out at you, but they do it with a closed mouth. It's meant more for intimidation than anything else... Don't be afraid of a bluff strike, either!
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013
  11. Dragoness

    Dragoness Elite Member

    gloves can give you a bit of confidence, until you have learned her body language. Once you're comfortable, you ca take them off. I keep a pair for when some of my means snakes are in a nasty mood, but they get very little use other than that.
  12. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Give it time to settle in first. New house, new surroundings he's probably scared. 1 week minimum. My suggestion after that is to calmly hold it. If your nervous, your more jumpy. The snake can tell. Try not to be so tense. Its only a baby.

    There is a difference between a relaxed s and a ready to strike s. Watch it feed, you'll notice it. Every snake I've ever met has done the s while holding. I think its just natural. Especially if it is holding on to your arm or hand with its lower half with the way the muscles are.

    Hold daily keep calm and remember the shocks worse than the bite. I promise.
  13. uncertainsky

    uncertainsky Elite Member

    What I have noticed from my experience (which isn't a whole lot) when the snake is in a calm s its head and neck area are generally on the surface of whatever it may be on, and an "attack" s the head and neck are raised in the air above the rest of the body and also the tongue flicking is greater so it can sense the the possible danger more easily and quickly. Yes they flick their tongue when calm but its not back to back flicking as much like when they feel threatened.

    Just my 2 cents lol
  14. Turner

    Turner Elite Member

    I just got my very first snake, and I have a corn snake, so I don't really know about boas. I was/am like you are. I was like you I love all animals, but my mom hated snakes and still does to this day. So I was never allowed to have one. When I first got mine I was terrified of her, any slight move she made I jumped, I was scared and tense and nervous holding her, and she DID NOT like me. When my husband would hand her to me she would lose her mind and start trying to dart away. I ended up just biting the bullet. I made myself hold her, I made myself relax and not "act" tense scared and nervous (it is really hard). Now I have no problem holding her, it took about a week or so, and now she's started to get to the point where when I open her tank she comes to me or starts climbing to the top of the tank and coming out into your hand. Now that I'm better with her I love her. There are still times that she does the "s" move and I get scared, but I'm persistent with it and I don't let it show that it makes me nervous. It has gotten a lot better. I hope you get more comfortable with her so that you can enjoy her too. Best of luck to you :)
  15. MarissaEmerita

    MarissaEmerita New Member

    THANK YOU ALL for all of the feedback!! I am getting much more comfortable with her now. She just got done shedding last night so she will be fed tonight. I know not to handle her for a good 48 hours after she feeds :) She seems to really enjoy her enclosure and I am getting less and less afraid of handling her. Sometimes she likes to move around a lot while she is being handled so i just gently follow her body with my hands and make sure her body is always supported. She hasn't tried to bite yet and hopefully wont ever try!! :) I do have one more question though, her enclosure doesn't like to stay humid during the day when her light is on, it stays at about 70-80% after we spray it for about 20-30 minutes but then goes down to 40%. What can I do to maintain the humidity!?

  16. murrindindi

    murrindindi Elite Member

    Hi, does the tank have a solid lid?
  17. Releep

    Releep Elite Member

    Get some plexiglass and cover all but where the light is. I personally would get a under the tank heater and use a led light bulb for lighting and cover all but about 1/8th of the top of the tank with plexiglass a heat lamp dries out the air real fast.
  18. marya1962

    marya1962 Elite Member

    The first week home, just let it rest. My little boy (Ball Python) was accustomed to by a neighbor. First, she pet it, then eventually over time she held it. She progressed to letting it crawl around on her. She now holds and pets our big girl (RTB). I suggest a sitting posture at first with the snake in one's lap, so that way the snake doesn't have to be held, just sit there while being petted. If it moves away, bring it back gently. And this keeps it away from the face, if you're having issues with that. It doesn't need to be held around one's neck all the time, although most snakes, mine anyway, like hair. And cleavage. Trust is built up over time. Don't worry too much about body posture right now, but just hold it. The more you hold it the gentler it will be over time anyway.
  19. MicahC

    MicahC Elite Member

    Red Tail Boas are one of the most docile and calm snakes. They actually like being held...
    I have a fairly young and small red tail boa and she loves it when I take her out. The only chance you really have of getting bit is if you stick your hand in the tank and she thinks you are food. That's why it is best to get them from above and not to fast. The only other reason you would get bit is if you neglect to hold it at all. You could be fine holding them once a week and they would stay tame and docile.
  20. LunaticFringeInc

    LunaticFringeInc Active Member

    Yeah I agree with the other post just got to bite the bullet and handle them. Yeah you might get a defensive bite or two in the process but thats just part of the total package when you keep snakes. The best advice I can give you is learn and watch their body language! It will give you a lot of clues about your snakes temperment and mood at the time of handling. Just because it takes a S stance doesnt mean its going to bite or strike at you. When I see mine in this position and the tongue slowly comes out and kind of floats out there has always been a big clue that mine were about to take a swipe at me...handling time was OVER! Make sure that you support your snake well when handling them as this will make them a lot more relaxed and less excitable. Always avoid handling your snake when its about to shed. When in this condition they cant see very well and will understandably be a lot more nervous and prone to be a "belt fed staple gun". When you get a new addition allow it a good week or two to settle in and get used to its new home.

    The other thing I do is I wash my hands thorougly before handling and avoid handling my snakes if I have been around any other pets such as dogs or cats which could leave a lingering smell to your clothes or skin and provoke a feeding response...dont under estimate a snakes ability to smell, its an amazing quality that they have!!!

    The other habit I have gotten into is I dont feed my snake in the same enclosure that it lives in. I will always feed it in a different container. The last thing I want, is one of my snakes to associate the cage being opened to "it must be feeding time again". Not a big deal with a neonate but once its about 7-8 ft long and on the thick side of things something as simple as changing the water in a water dish can be quiet the adventure to say the least once they have that mind set.

    Everyone wants to handle their snake when its new and young. But handle it when its larger and older and the newness of it has been long gone. This will keep them accustomed to being handled and they wont get so moody when they get older and larger. That being said I try to handle mine for about 15 minutes a day daily unless its about to shed or seems like its in one of those moods or has recently been fed. Not only will this keep them accustomed to being handled, you will learn a lot about your snake and the subtle clues its body language will tell you. My 8ft Guyana Redtail was a ***** cat about 95% of the time but there were times she was just not in the mood to be messed with and would dare you to test that theory at which point you were just asking for it.

    Just relax and pay attention to detail. They will almost always give you clues that they are about to lash out at you. When you get bit, in all probability you did something wrong. Figure out what it was and dont do that again. Handle them frequently on a regular basis and they will quickly realize your not a threat to them and you will be able to enjoy them a lot more.

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