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I Bought My First Snake - Jungle Carpet Python

Discussion in 'Carpet/Diamond Pythons' started by monster, Apr 5, 2008.

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  1. monster

    monster New Member

    And I don't know anything about snakes, so that sucks. I have done a fair amount of reading so I'm not completely inept, but I haven't been able to find answers to a number of questions I've had. So I come to you, fine people of the HC network, for assistance.

    I have a 3 year old male JCP, who was raised by some guy who I'm guessing didn't take very good care of him. He told me he lost him a few times for months at a time, fed him .. occasionally, and when I got him he was (and still is) in a 10 gallon aquarium tank turned sideways with a branch in it, and nothing else. I'm guessing I need a bigger habitat for him (4+ ft), but I'm not exactly sure what I need.

    I've learned that he might ingest Aspen snake bedding, but I would like to get him bedding that is acceptable for him. I want to get him some toys (rocks, hiding areas, etc), and perhaps more branches. I also want to get a bigger living solution, but I'm not sure where / what / how big. I at least know that he likes hanging out vertically.

    He was very tame when I got him (two weeks ago) and the gentleman I bought him from told me he hadn't bit since he was a baby. He also said he had just been fed so I had about two weeks until he got a new treatment of mice.

    I left for four days and came home and he had escaped (ouch, rookie lesson #1) and had been in my bedroom relaxing. He had multiple abrasions from escaping and looking to be in a bad mood. I was in a hurry so I quickly put him back in his cage and let him think about what he did for awhile.

    The next time I opened up his cage, he proceeded to bite me within two seconds. I didn't hear him hiss, but he looked angsty to say the least. I got mad, put him back in, and let him think about that for another day. When I let him out the second time I was extremely nervous and so was he, because he didn't want to be handled at all. Afraid of him biting me, I put him back in until today.

    Today I fed him. I put him in a makeshift enclosed area and fed him two little (live) mice, which he seemed to thoroughly enjoy. He simply looks like he's in a better mood now, and I'm guessing the next time I handle him he'll be too full to want to bite me. Right? I hope? I put him back in his (unfortunately small) cage for now.

    How long do I have before I can handle him? Would it have been alright to pick him up to put him back in? What I did was I put his tank up next to the feeding area and let him crawl in, so I didn't have to take any risk.

    I've read about putting my hand in the tank every day and letting him get used to me. I'm very sad because the first few days I had him (before his weekend escape adventure), he was very docile and enjoyed crawling around on me for a few hours at a time. I had him laying on my desk for a few hours when I did work and he didn't even come close to wanting to bite. After he escaped he just looked angry and like he wanted to bite. Maybe he's just been hungry?

    I don't know much about the personality of snakes or how they work, but if you guys could provide me with any information it would be ridiculously appreciated. :)

  2. monster

    monster New Member

    I just put my hand near his cage and he struck the cage, attempting to bite me. Is this common for awhile after feeding? I feel bad - I feel as if he hates me.
  3. titus

    titus Elite Member Premium Member

    Well, welcome to the world of snakes. Sounds like you got yourself a "nice" one too. My bet at why he struck at you is he's still hungry Carpets can get really big (up to a good 9'9 depending on line and species) I can tell you my 4' carpets eat at 2 adult mice a week. Adult carpets can put down 3 or more at a time.

    You should wait at least 24-48 hours after feeding before handling. But be careful carpets really don't like being taken off their branches though after you have them out they're usually fairly calm.
  4. fire2225ems

    fire2225ems Subscribed User Premium Member

    Also would suggest feeding frozen thawed food or freshly killed rather than live. Live prey can do a lot of damage to your snake. I don't know a lot about snakes but I would suggest getting a bigger tank. Something you can keep upright to keep it from escaping again. And like Titus said, feed more often. 2 weeks sounds a bit long.

    We don't have a carpet python caresheet, but here are the 2 other python caresheets we do have. They should at least give you some where to start.
    Blood Python Caresheet (Python curtus brongersmai) - Reptile Information - Caresheets Database
    Ball Python Caresheet (Python regius) - Reptile Information - Caresheets Database
  5. kenman1963

    kenman1963 Moderator

  6. skelegirl

    skelegirl Member

    Thanks for posting that! I'm getting a jungle carpet next week, so this was handy reading material! :)
  7. ryanpb

    ryanpb Elite Member

    Congrats on the addition, I love carpet pythons.
    I have a 7' Coastal Carpet, and honestly, I don't think there any more prone to biting as a species than a ball python.
    I think its all in how there socialized, and how you act around them.
    My Carpet bit me twice in a row the first week I had him, rather then putting him away (they usually bite to be left alone), exactly what he wanted, I brought him out and handled him for about twenty minutes.

    Other then that the only time Ihave to worry is feeding, he has one heck of a feeding response, and has almost hit me A few times, he has not bitten me since, and i'm willing to chalk his behavior up to the stress from the move.

    I think they're great snakes.

    AS for enclosure, he DEFINITELY needs a bigger one, these guys are active snakes.

    If you're positive its a jungle then he should get around 6' maybe even a bit less, I'd plan ahead and get him into something that will last.

    I'd suggest a tank at least half his length, by a fourth his length, and because there semi arboreal I'd look for height.

    The bigger you can go the better.

    I use a eco earth and cypress mulch blend for substrate, and for the water dish I'd suggest a small cat litter pan.

    I'd also suggest at least one, preferably two hide boxes for him to hide in, and then branches for climbing.
  8. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    Welcome to HerpCenter.
    A few points from reading your post. You have several things that need to be addressed.

    A ten gallon tank is way too small for a 4 ft snake. These guys are pretty active, so he is feeling very cramped and confined. You also didn't mention having a hiding place for him. This leaves him feeling exposed and lacking security. This could account for the aggressive behavior.
    (snakes don't "hate").

    When you approach, the snake is so cramped up that it has nowhere to flee to escape and so feels it necessary to defend itself. It's cornered.
    Sort of like you being forced to live in a phone booth and, suddenly, someone much larger than you is trying to force their way in there with you.
    Not a comfortable situation.

    Putting the snake back to "let him think about what he has done" is useless.
    Snake's brains don't work that way. They have no concept of "punishment".
    All this does is reinforce the behavior:
    If I bite, then the human puts me in the cage and leaves me alone! I win!

    You say the snake has abrasions from its escape. It may be in pain and not really up for socializing right now. How bad are the abrasions. If they are raw looking try putting some neosporin ointment on it.

    Sounds like the snake is constantly hungry. You should be feeding the snake weekly and a prey item about as big, or slightly larger than the snake's body at the widest point. Don't judge by the size of the snake's head. After feeding there should be a very noticeable lump in the snake's middle!

    Handling the snake when you are mad or nervous is not a good idea. You may not realize it but when people are nervous, they move in a different way. Animals pick up on this and tend to feel like you are up to something. If you are afraid of getting bitten try using a light pair of leather gloves. And make sure that you haven't been handling rodents or other mammals. The smell will trigger a strike.

    Aspen is fine for bedding as long as you aren't feeding in the cage. And you can pick the snake up immediately after feeding just to return it to the cage, but wait 48 hours after feeding before any real handling or you may get the rodent back,...ewwwwww! Trust me,.....NOT pleasant!:eek:

    When you open the cage to handle try taking a piece of wooden dowel rod and lightly touching the snake on the head or tip of the nose. This lets the snake know that food is not involved! Do not approach the snake from in front of its face,...I know,... difficult in the current too small enclosure. Move slowly and approach from the back of the snake and pick it up gently from about 1/3 of the length away from the head.
    Don't give up!
  9. barnkat

    barnkat Elite Member

    Please don't give up on your snake. Merlin kind of said it all. My jungle-carpet x diamond is 8 feet long. His mom was a jungle carpet snake and she was about 9 feet long. I don't know about all of them, but Teal'c likes to climb to the top of the 4 foot tall cage and wrap like he's on a tree branch and observe the human goings on in the household. His 4 foot tall cage sits on top of a table that's about 3 feet high, so he has a good angle for seeing what is going on. He likes to come out to play, and is usually very good about this. When he was little he was "bitey", but was quickly taught through behaviour modification (a squirt of white vinegar in his mouth if he went to bite) that it wasn't a very good idea. All my kids were taught that if one of the reptiles bites not to pull their hand away, to use a squirt of vinegar, that way the snake loses no teeth and the bite is usually lessened. I know someone who likes to use cranberry juice, but it is sticky and stains. My biggest issue when I have him out is he likes to play "explorer" and when he feels he's out long enough will potty on whoever has him, and his urate reeks. Also if you are afraid he will bite, he will sense that and be more "nervous" and may bite. From dog and horse training we know that if you the protector and one they look to shows any fear inside yourself or outside, they will react in self preservation mode, and try to get away even if that means biting. Definitely need a larger cage. He is way too cramped in that small container. Here we only use that size as an emergency or a feed tank until larger is cleaned. Ryan had a lot of good ideas for you in his post also. Good luck and keep us informed on how things come along.
  10. metylvamp

    metylvamp Elite Member

  11. BlackJack

    BlackJack Subscribed User Premium Member

    Most of the important things have been mentioned.
    Another point, you shouldn't put your hand into the tank for the snake to get used to you!! They are not dogs (and with most strange dogs this is also a bad idea). You are asking to get bit that way.
    It sounds like your snake needs to be fed more. Put the snake in a plastic sweater box for feeding. Get 1-2 frozen adult mice or small rats (about the thickness of the middle portion of the snake) and thaw them out completely in warm water, soak them in hot water for a few minutes then toss them into the box with the snake. He'll eat them if he's hungry. He'll probably be much less nippy if he's well-fed.
    If he's a biter when you reach in or go near the cage there are two tricks. Wear a T-shirt without deodorant for a day or so and then leave it in his cage. He'll get used to your smell that way.
    Another trick is to drop a handkerchief or light-weight towel over his head before reaching in to pick him up. Then he doesn't sense the warmth of your hand (could be food) nor see that something is coming after him (could be dangerous,. he's more likely to stay calm when you then take him out.
  12. titus

    titus Elite Member Premium Member

    I agree with almost everything said. A good snake hook or two is a good investment if even only used to judge the temperament of a snake before removing it by hand. At any size over 4' your snake should be eating a good deal. Two to 3 feeders per feeding Per 7-10 days. Carpets can really put away some food even my hatchlings were started on hoppers. So don't think twice about feeding single feeders up to about twice the width of the body of the snake.
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