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Snake-bit! Or "Well, THAT was stupid."

Discussion in 'Not So Spineless Wonders' started by Tim Benzedrine, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. Tim Benzedrine

    Tim Benzedrine Prankster Possum Old Timer

    A real Bonehead move on my part.
    I was feeding my black ratsnake (a five-footer, approximately) I had misplaced my tongs, so I was doing the tail-dangle method, which I do as often as not in any case.
    The snake made a bad-strike, knocking the thawed mouse from my grasp. here is where the stupid comes in...reflexively I grabbed at the mouse to pick it up to repeat the offer. The snake, being in full hunting mode whirled around and grabbed my hand.
    And then threw coils over my hand and forearm and began the constriction process.
    He was on so tight that I couldn't even begin to unwrap him. So, I calmly waked to the bathroom where I had a bucket of clean water and doused my arm in almost up to the elbow. It took a minute or so, but he eventually began to relax and disengaged from the bite. and I was able to uncoil him and return him to his enclosure, where he immediately accepted the re- offered mouse.
    A couple points to be made. First of course is to never underestimate the speed of a snake, but everybody should know that. Second, while one can afford to be a little sloppy with smaller species, (but shouldn't be because there is risk to the well-being of the snake in this kind of situation) this was a very good example why they should always be careful, triply so with large species and infinitely more so with hot species.
    Third, if nothing else, the incident underlines why when people exhibit fear of harmless moderate sized species, I always point out that I'd much rather be tagged by my snake than their dog or cat. I compare a bite with my snake as being equivalent to getting scratched thorns like there are on some berry bushes. And I now have photographs to prove my point. Sure it LOOKS kinda gnarly before clean-up, but the damage is superficial. Had it been an angry Chihuahua that latched on, it would have been a different story.

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  2. TyjTheMighty

    TyjTheMighty Arachnosquire

    Awesome information! I use to keep a few snakes (I only have a boa, a ball, and a king now) and I've been bit by a rather large boa on my arm (not a feeding bite) and it was pretty much nothing. Lol I have almost been bitten in the face during a feeding once, lucky for me I moved my head back just in time :cool:
  3. InvertAddiction

    InvertAddiction Arachnoknight

    Thank you for this post :) We're all humans and we all make mistakes. Fortunately it was a rat snake and NOT something hot, so that's always good ^_^ 2ndly glad you're okay and it wasn't a serious bite but I do have to agree with you. Dogs and cats can leave some pretty nasty marks. I had to stop my 2 kitties from fighting and stupid me got in the middle and my female was still in spaz mode and lodged her claw deep in my index finger.... reflex had me jerk my hand away and she was dangling in the air from my finger >.< I had to have my fiance get her claw out of me and it looked like an attempted murder took place in my gaming room. Fortunately nothing serious once it was cleaned up and is now healing nicely :p
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  4. Liquifin

    Liquifin Arachnobaron Active Member

    love black rat snakes, but sadly they are always roadkill on our areas. But they are cool snakes, and should be appreciated more :cool:.
  5. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoking Active Member

    I don't understand why you couldn't unwrap a 5 foot constrictor. Surely you could carefully unwrap the tail and go from there? A blood python then maybe it'd be a task.
  6. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    @Tim Benzedrine Classical stupid. I think it's genetic, found in all humans, or semi or demi humans. The brain fart gene.
    Glad it wasn't venomous.

    What you did was exactly what an expert did at the nature center. Sidewinder did a mis and sent the mouse flying to the other end of the containment. So he reached in to grab the mouse. Snake bulls eyed his hand. What was weird was the snake catapulted. The strike threw itself through the air. 18 inch snake, mouse and hand a good 2 feet away.
    When feeding, rethink: Not snake. Legless bang machine.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
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  7. schmiggle

    schmiggle Arachnoprince Active Member

    Quite a story. Why did the water help--did it confuse the snake, cool it down, or something else?
    o_O You mean the American sidewinder, right? They move unbelievably fast when they aren't on loose sand; I think their native habitat slows them down.
  8. The Snark

    The Snark هرج و مرج مهندس Old Timer

    Dunking your extremity in water is very common. Seems to confuse the snake. Alien environment representing a danger. Doesn't work with O Hannah though.
    Another way of getting them to let go is grasp the end of the tail firmly and give it a shake. Works great with the big truckers like pythons. With speed burners that's not a good idea as you are wide open for another bite.
    Yup. C Cerastes. Even on sand I'd put money on them being the fastest of all rattlers. In normal cruise mode they can move out like an F1. C Sistrurus are close competitors.
    I saw that strike. Wasn't a strike really, just a blur. Wasn't until he jerked his arm out that we realized what happened, including his second beside him holding a hook.

    IMHO what all hot keepers need. A synthetic injection, just a tiny tag that only lasts a few seconds, that emulates the onset first two minutes of a rattler tag.
    The instant bee sting OUCH that grows exponentially with every heartbeat, every last drop of your blood draining into your feet, the cold sweat that soaks you in seconds, the light headed dizziness followed by intense nausea. Then it's over. A little clue of what you might be in for if you get complacent.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  9. Tim Benzedrine

    Tim Benzedrine Prankster Possum Old Timer

    There was no tail exposed to begin to uncoil. And I'm not sure if I would have attempted it if there had been. Sure, if I could have located a starting point, I could have uncoiled it, but it would have simply clamped tighter creating the need to use more force. Why risk injury to the snake when I was in no danger? The tried and true method of a dunking seemed the most logical method, causing the snake to release of his own accord.

    I've been tagged by rat-snakes before, but only as a defense measure during capture. This guy was in feeding mode and struggle would have caused it to be more determined to hold onto its "prey".
    I've caught many by being slow and deliberate without getting a bite, though. And usually a half-hour of work with them is all it takes to get them to be relatively docile and able to be cautiously free-handled.
    Mine is pretty easy-going with being handled as long as I firmly take him in hand from the start. Since I feed him within his enclosure, it is important for him to realize that when he is grasped, it means no prey is forthcoming.

    I won't keep hots. Too much room for human error resulting in nasty consequences. That's also why I am very hesitant to consider keeping OW tarantulas.

    They are great snakes and are a decent species to keep. Where I live, it is legal to collect them, and the only restriction is that you are not allowed to release them after a certain period of time, 30 days.
    They are not a flashy snake, but attractive in my opinion.
    Whenever I encounter on in my neighbourhood, I gather them up and release them elsewhere at the earliest convenience, usually the next day because snakes don't fare well at the hands of most people around here But I decided to keep the one I have now as I thought it was a particularly attractive individual. it was between t and three feet at the time, I'd estimate. Caught him July of 2013. I decided to see if he would accept frozen/thawed mice, and he did just a couple days later. That's when I decided to make him a permanent resident.

    I'm pretty sure that I posted this photo here before, but rather than trying to seek it out, I'll re-post it.

    m_m_Growth progress.jpg
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  10. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoking Active Member

    @Tim Benzedrine ah right. I misunderstood and thought you meant you just physically couldn't uncoil the little rascal. That's fair enough then.

    There's a whole world of difference in keeping hot snakes & OW tarantulas than other snakes. With your snake you put yourself in a position of being bit. That's NOT a slur by the way. I myself have been bitten by a few snakes in interacting with them. However I've never been bit off my tarantulas/spiders/centipedes as I don't interact with them.

    Just because you got tagged here doesn't mean you're foolish and would get bit off an OW tarantula or hot snake. The protocols around them are world's apart.
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  11. boina

    boina Lady of the mites Arachnosupporter

    That sounds very much like the way I was bit by my boa a few years ago... Unfortunately for me the proportions of that snake and myself are rather different to you and your snake. She was 7' when she bit me but she's nearing 9' now and she weighs 25 pounds - and I'm a rather small human. If she latched on to my arm now I wouldn't even be able to get her out of her enclosure, and I'm not even sure if I'd want to - like, have a large boa in restricting mode that close to me??

    Does anyone have a good idea what I should do in a case like that - other than being careful beforehand?
  12. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoking Active Member

    A small bottle of watered down vodka within reach would be best. A few drops poured into the snakes mouth will see it release.

    Is your boa tap trained?
  13. boina

    boina Lady of the mites Arachnosupporter

    That's a phantastic idea, I will definitely do that!

    My snakes aren't tap trained the classical way but they are used to handling cues and it works quite well - until they smell a rat ;).
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  14. Tim Benzedrine

    Tim Benzedrine Prankster Possum Old Timer

    I took no offense at your comment, I just needed to explain that uncoiling was not a feasible solution in this case. During bites upon collecting that have happened, I just wait for a release. But, as I said, my snake was in feeding mode and movement just caused him to tighten and there was no starting point. He eventually would have given up, but it would have been a bit longer than I cared to wait. I wasn't in agony, but it wasn't comfortable either. :D

    I'd be less hesitant to keep an OW, at least one of the "beginner" species, than I would a hot reptile. I've pondered more than once on the idea of a horned baboon, but just have never reached the point where I'm comfortably willing to pull the trigger.
    The consequences of an OW bite might be uncomfortable (and in rare cases maybe even dangerous) but the risk of debilitating injuries is lower, and a hefty medical bill would be much less likely to be accrued.
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  15. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoking Active Member

    A lotto win will see me keeping a Gaboon viper as well as some DWA inverts.
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  16. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    In all my decades of keeping snakes, and finding them in the wild, I have been fortunate enough not to have been bitten. There's always a first time however...
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  17. Tim Benzedrine

    Tim Benzedrine Prankster Possum Old Timer

    Well, ya gotta do something stupid. :D
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  18. Galapoheros

    Galapoheros ArachnoGod Old Timer

    I've been bitten countless times by non-venomous snakes, often deliberately just to show people it's not a big deal(garter snakes for example). I thought I was completely safe from being bitten by a constrictor when that happened to me once also. I was only 14 and sold it back to the pet store after that, never been interested again in boas since that happened. Those needle teeth are impressive, look at that bite! I've only been bitten once when completely unexpected, I mean I didn't know what bit me. MAN that scared me, I think I was 16, I was on a ranch and stuck my hand close to a water pump next to a cattle tank and WHAM!. I'll never forget that, it was only a rat snake also but I didn't know for a few seconds.
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