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New Snake Owner with No Experience

Discussion in 'Reticulated Pythons' started by fishhead, Jul 28, 2013.

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  1. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    Hi, im new to this forum and also new to snakes. Last week I took in a 6 ft retic with little notice. I had little choice as the owner was going to eat it if I didnt take it. Im a graduate of a fish and wildlife school so I know I can do this, im just having troubles as all beginers would. The snake seems to me to be very skinny for its length and I cant get it to eat. I tried a small hampster with no luck and then tried a baby chicken as the prior owner fed it doves. Well I cant find doves so I used chicken. I just put its food in the tank but they die in a day or two.
    I live in the philippines which is the snake species native land. For this I think it shouldnt need to be warmed much? I have a lamp at o e end I turn on if its not real hot even though its always hotter then 76.
    Last problem which is the biggest problem, im scared to pick it up. Its a tame snake and doesnt seem aggressive but im naturally nervious. Ichave touched it and started to pick it up but got scared when he turned its head near my hand. It spends most of its time in a cloth bag which I change every few days. I also clean the tank witg a slightly soapy rag and then wash it again with a tiny bit of alcohol.
    If anyone would have the patience to help me id be very thankful. Im new but very experienced with most other wildlife. Thanks
     
  2. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    First thing read a LOT of caresheets on retics. They grow to well over 15-20 feet in captivity. Temps need to be hotter than 76. More around 85-90 on hot side and 75 on cool side with 60-70% humidity. Put a cardboard box on each side of the enclosure. You need thermometers to tell you the temperatures.

    Retics can be tame with continued holding and working with them. You honestly just have to pick it up and see how it reacts. First stroke its side once or twice to let it know your there then pick it up. With proper housing it should eat just let it acclimate to its surroundings for a week or two. Don't mess with it a LOT until it eats.
     
  3. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    You don't need to clean every few days. Maybe once every few weeks to a month, unless it deficates.

    Get a light cycle going too. 12 hours for lights on and 12 hours lights off. Just a normal lamp light will do.

    Try feeding rabbits, large rats, stuff like that. I don't know what's available to you there though. I would still give it a week or two first though. You'll also need water bowl big enough to soak in too. At the least something to get a drink.

    Lastly, Always have another person on hand when handling the big snakes.
     
  4. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    wow, thank you very much for the wealth of knowledge! I have a bsth for it at one end and will find a box for the other side. It seems to really like bags. Also it has a calm and shy personality. Ive been leaving it alone as im trying not to spook it so I guess im doing a few things correctly. Im just worried because It hasnt eaten but im learning its not a big deal yet. Im going to try to find the bird its used to eating. If not will a rat or baby chicken work? Again thank you so much for the tips and help. Got to get some thermometers too today hopefully
     
  5. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    A rat would be perfect. Honestly, I wouldn't be worried. (I have a 14 ft Burmese that hasn't eaten since October 2012) they can go months without feeding. Get its enclosure fixed wait and let him settle in and he will start eating. I'm almost sure.
     
  6. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    I've found that with many animals, they can go through "hunger strikes" when they're stressed out. I'd suggest leaving him completely alone except to change his water for a week, and then try to feed him. If he refuses, try another week, and maybe add another place for him to hide, or fiddle with the temperature.
    I'm not sure how it works with larger snakes, but after it eats two or three times, you can move onto freshly killed prey, and then move onto frozen/thawed prey :) It's much easier to keep frozen prey, cheaper, and safer since live prey can injure your snake.
    Once you've had him for a few more weeks and he's eaten, you can start working on getting him used to you. Start slow :) (you both should be more comfortable with each other after awhile, the handling part and the trust will come with time :) )
     
  7. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    I appreciate your post, it calms my concern. My snakehead (fish) struggles if hes not fed every day or two so its hardwired into my brain esch day to get him fed. Just as with mammals daily feeding is a concern. Learning to keep this snake happy and healthy with be a fun and interesting journey. Ive read about a feeding tube, is that reslly necessary? Also I have a desk lamp with an adjustable neck that zeems great for a heating source but im not shre where to place it. I have it on the right side of the 100 gallon aquarium shinning in through the side. I live in the tropics so I wouldn't think hest is a major concern? Lastly, what you said about both the snake snd I getting co.fortable is wise advice. I dont think it would be smart for me to hold an animal who can probably smell fear on me. Thank you very much, I think im going to like this site
     
  8. RockyGurly

    RockyGurly Well-Known Member

    Even in the tropics, I think it'd be better to have a hotter side and a cooler side (and somewhere to hide on each side) so he can move around and adjust his body temperature himself, since they rely on the temperature of their enclosures to be warm or cool.
    Don't worry :) I'm not seeing anything that'd be concerning, so it'd probably be better for both of you if you give each other some space and take your time warming up to each other. He simply won't eat if he's stressed out, but he can go months without eating. And I'm sure he isn't dying for a cuddle :p Remember, he isn't used to you either, but he's also not used to his new home and the new routines that come with it. It takes time.
     
  9. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    Thats great because as tempting as it would be to take him to bed I will pass on that at this point in time haha. Maybe when it impresses me by gobbling down a rabbit or something we can revisit that lol.
     
  10. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    Snake hasnt left is bag in several days. I placed a hideout for it at both ends but the snake prefers the bag in the middle. Its real comfortable or something is wrong?
     
  11. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    Ive got serious problems. It has escaped and is loose in my kitchen. Its riled up and im scared to try to pick it up!
     
  12. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Well don't try to do anything without having another person there. Be prepared to get bit, just grab it by the head. Has it eaten?
     
  13. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    No I havent been able to get it to eat. Ive been trying baby chickens amd now I hsve 2 smsll rats in the tank. I manned up and caught it but ill admitt I was scared. He is a very nice snake, never struck at me. I got him back in the tank and everything is good. Wow I was nervous and half alseep. I gained a little confidence though. When they bite as you mentioned, does it rip you up bad? Looks like its got some nasty teeth.
     
  14. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Never been bit by a large snake but I assume it wouldn't be anything like a ball python. Get that tank secured. Like really secured.
     
  15. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    Thanks man! . Thank goodness you were here. First person I thought of for help. As for the bite, scary stuff. Id rather be bitten by a dog
     
  16. TJOHNSON722

    TJOHNSON722 Elite Member

    Oh no. That would be much worse. A snake bite, would be like getting stung by a bee 3-5 times in a row. You would have some cuts and bleeding where teeth pulled, etc but nothing too bad. You'll get better you just need to get that snake to eat first. It'll take a lot of anxiety off your chest.
     
  17. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    Do you think that its food is too small? I tried chicks and they keep dieing after 1 day, hes not killing them they are just dying. So now I tried white rats but they are small.maybe 2 or 3 inches not counting tail
     
  18. williamweir10

    williamweir10 Elite Member

    I don't own a Retic, but if he's 6ft I don't think a small rat is big enough. My BP is 3.5ft and he eats "medium" sized rats. You should definitely go for "large"/"jumbo" instead. About how big around is your snake?


    [This is Alanna, posting as William.]
     
  19. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    Still isnt interested in the rats. Id say at the snakes largest part its around 3 inches wide
     
  20. fishhead

    fishhead Member

    Ok perhaps I bit off more then I could chew getting a large snake as my first. I have a standing offer for a straight swap. A 24 inch Burmese pytbon for my 6 ft reticulated. I like the idea of starting with a smaller snake becoming comfortable with it. Also I csnt get the reticulated to eat. I want to know is it a good idea both value wise and sense wise to go ahead with the swap? Also ive been told that my snake is in his off feeding time now because its the rainy season her in the Philippines. Does this sound acccurate?
     
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