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Taming down a King snake??? Tips???

Discussion in 'Not So Spineless Wonders' started by AnimalNewbie, May 16, 2018.

  1. AnimalNewbie

    AnimalNewbie Arachnobaron

    So I volunteer pretty frequently at this one little tiny sort of rescue center in Carlsbad where they keep animals that people can’t or don’t want to care for anymore such as snakes, lizards and turtles. We get a lot of visitors and birthday people who always want to hold them so I let them hold them in reasonable range such as the ball pythons. Than there’s the king snake he’s been here possibly the longest and almost every single one of the volunteers and staff have been bit except one guy who completely tamed it down but he recently left for a new job. So after he left no one touched it or went near it just fed and cared for it until last week where we got a new volunteer who didn’t know any better and took it out to show a kid and their mom. Eventually before I could tell him it bit him. Thankfully he was a man about it and didn’t hurt the snake and just put it back in the cage. Is there any way I can maybe tame it down instead of having another volunteer getting bitten again?
    Any tips are appreciated!!!
  2. Hello!
    I've been keeping snakes for over six years now (40 individuals) and would be happy to try to help. When the snake bites, does it typically let go quickly or latch on for longer? When they let go quickly, that is a defensive response. The longer bites are food response bites where they may try to coil.
    Could you tell me about the setup the snake is in?
    If it is a defensive response, frequent and routine handling is best for the animal to calm down again. Also, never feed outside the enclosure because that just causes stress on the animal. If it is a food response bite, it may be necessary to hook train the snake so that it knows when it is hooked out of the enclosure it is not feeding time.
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  3. AnimalNewbie

    AnimalNewbie Arachnobaron

    The snake is in a 40 gallon. It’s a California king. As far as being bit it will hang on sometime but let go quickly afterwards. I can’t vollunteer for another week or so I can’t show the setup but as said before 40 gallon aspen sub, heat pad and a big water bowl with 2 hides.its never fed out of the setup. So as far as this I’ve dealt with a ball python at the nature center that was cage defensive so how would I go do this with a king snake????
  4. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoking Active Member

    Some snakes can just be like that. But seeing as this snake has been calm before it can become calm again.

    First thing I'd recommend is tap training if you don't already. This is basically where you softly touch or stroke the snake with a snake hook or similar, just something long-ish EVERY time you go into the enclosure and AREN'T feeding it.

    It doesn't take long for a snake to associate a tap/stroke with the fact food isn't going to be available.

    When going to pick the snake up don't mess about. Just go in and pick it up. Unless the snake is a good size a bite won't actually hurt. It's the shock of the bite that takes you buy surprise.

    A calm gentle handling session of around 5-10 mins every 4 days or so should be a good starting point. If you notice the snake keeps calm you could extend the time. Obviously don't handle for a few days after a feed.
    • Agree Agree x 2
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  5. AnimalNewbie

    AnimalNewbie Arachnobaron

    The snake is full grown just for reference.
  6. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoking Active Member

    How big? 8ft?
  7. AnimalNewbie

    AnimalNewbie Arachnobaron

    About 6-7ft
  8. basin79

    basin79 Arachnoking Active Member

    Even at that size the bite won't be too painful as their head is small & they don't have ETB/GTP teeth.

    There might be a fair amount of blood but when you clean the area you'll see nothing really.

    The important thing IF you're bit is to NOT pull away and DON'T panic. Just let the snake realise you're not prey or a threat.

    Of course that's indeed the snake even bothers to bite you. If you tap train first you should find things much easier. It might be helpful to feed smaller meals more often whilst you do to speed up the process. So if feed 1 rat every two weeks use a 50% smaller prey item and feed every week until you're at the stage where it's tap trained.
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    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. Basin's advice is quite sound. No such thing as a 7 foot cal king though haha.
    I have tap trained several of my snakes successfully within a matter of weeks.
    Sounds like it has promise for you. However, it is true that sometimes they remain defensive.
  10. AnimalNewbie

    AnimalNewbie Arachnobaron

    Yeah might’ve been a “bit” of exaggeration :troll:
  11. CWilson1351

    CWilson1351 Arachnobaron

    Follow everything @basin79 said. Tap training, just let it bite if it's going to. It will eventually realize that behavior doesn't change anything and it will settle down. Regular handling will definitely help.
  12. viper69

    viper69 ArachnoGod Old Timer

    Regular Handling is the best approach, and with tap training.
  13. AbbyC

    AbbyC Arachnopeon

    I usually just try to make sure the snake is aware of my presence when I pick them up, therefore they will not be stressed about being handled. I also find it preferable if the snake is already alert and awake so you will not be startling them.