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More snake myths

Pet snake myths:

Ball pythons will just go off fed, it's normal. 

This is a hard one, because in part it's true and part it's false. Breeding male will sometimes stop eating during breeding season, and most females will stop eating once gravid. But this is not always the case. Baby snakes should not go off feeding, and normally it's due to a husbandry or health issue. But at the same time in the wild no snake is easting every 7 days on a schedule. In the wild snakes are opportunistic feeders, this means they eat when they find food, or are hungry. Some snakes would eat every day if you let them, some might need more time to digest a larger meal. If a snake skips a meal or two and your husbandry is correct, the snake is health & not loosing weight don't freak out. Again in the wild they are not eating like clockwork every 7 days. You should only worry if the snake starts to loose weight. Once a snake gets to 600 grams change to every 2 weeks, and again if it skips a meal, don't freak out & try again. Ball pythons can get stressed easily so any change (new bedding, hide box, etc) might cause them to skip a meal. 

My snake will only eat live, only eat a brown mouse, only eat ____

Again it's a hard one. Somethings like scent can make a difference to a snake. Color on the other hand, would not. Size, scent and temperature are a factor. If you're trying frozen thawed rodents make sure it's getting warm enough. The body temperature of a rat is 102F so you need to measure the temps and be somewhere within that range. Some snakes don't care and will eat anything, but if your snake is refusing frozen thawed it's normally because it's too cold. Some snakes do have a preference in food, things that are closer to what they would eat in the wild. African soft fur rats are an example and the native food to the ball python. 

Common snake myths:

Snake bites are horrible: False

Unless you're working with venomous snakes, most snake bites are mild. The exception to this would be very large snakes, or a few of the arboreal species that have larger teeth. The bite from a dog or cat is much worse than the bite from a snake. Snakes have very small teeth used for gripping prey not tearing, so they only leave small dots behind. They do bleed a lot because snakes have an anticoagulant in their salavia, so some snake bites might appear worse than they really are. Always wash a bite thourally, and use an antiseptic if you're prone to infection. Very few people have reactions to nonvenomous snake bites, and if swelling accrues make sure there are no teeth left in the skin. The teeth are small & sometimes break off, this is why you should always wash the bite. 

 

Common Myths About Snakes

I wanted to start this page about common myths surrounding snakes. Some of these myths I'll go over will be about snakes, snake care and reptiles in general. Please follow along as I'll be updating this page often!

Wild Snake Myths & Just General "Old Wives Tails" 

Snakes will hunt or "chase" you down. False
This is 100% false. Most snakes are ambush predators and wait in hiding for their prey. While a scared or provoked snake might move toward you, it is likely trying to escape or defend it's self.  Snakes have limited eyesight and when a large animal (like a human) comes at them they are going to get freaked out. Simply leaving the snake alone and it will move on. If you're worry called animal control and they can send someone to remove the snake.

Snakes size up their owner to eat them! False
Again this is one of those things I hear a lot and it's 100% false. Snakes are opportunistic feeders yes and eat food that's offered to them in captivity. But humans do not make up any species of snakes natural diet in the wild. Snakes hunt by scent, and if it doesn't smell like food they don't eat it. Unless you have been rolling around with rodents, I don't think your snake wants to eat you. They lack the intelligence to "size up their prey" they would not understand a unit of measurement, and don't know to wait until they grow larger to then eat that item. Snakes in captivity and in the wild tend to try to eat things that are too large for them (ever seen a snake puke up a meal that was too big? Yeah it's gross) The old store that some lady slept with her python until one day it stopped eating & was told it was because it was "sizing her up" to eat her next has been going around for years. I think I first heard this story in the 90's & I have no idea where it originated. There is zero proof in this story, zero record of who this woman actually was, or where the original story even came from. The snake most likely stopped eating because it was old, or sick. The store normally says that she let the snake sleep in her bed for years. So how old was this snake? How big was this snake? And for anyone that has ever owned snakes, you know they don't hold still, so how was this snake even staying put in the bed with her every night for years? Nothing about this story has ever added up.

Snakes can't hear or see: False
While snakes don't have the best hearing it's been proven they do hear, just not higher pitched sounds like we do. They can also pickup on vibrations that we can't. They also see colors, but lack binocular vision. So they see just fine but it's limited to more of what's to their sides and close by. Most snakes have heat sensing pits that allow them to see heat as well.
 

Pet snake myths:

Moving to Feed: False
Not sure where this started but it was mostly likely a pet store trying to sell people extra cages. So you had to buy the enclosure for your snake & then an extra smaller "feeding cage".

The myth goes that if you feed a snake in it's enclosure if will be more aggressive. This is 100% false. Moving you snake to feed only adds stress to the snake. Most snakes are ambush predators and wait in one spot for their food. If you move them into a different area you've just broken that instinct to ambush their food, causing a lot of snakes to not eat. You also run the risk of the snake regurgitating once you move it back into the enclosure.
If you're worried about impaction (swallowing bedding) place the food on a small plastic lid or plate of some kind. If a little bedding gets in your snakes mouth they normally can get it out on their own, and swallowing a small amount of bedding won't hurt your snake. Babies tend to be the worst with this, which is why I keep them on paper towels for the first year of their life.

If you are worried about a bite from your snake when opening the enclosure get a snake hook. It's very easy to hook train a snake, and I recommend everyone do it. If you snake has a strong feeding response than the hook is the way to go. Simply open the enclosure tap the snake with the hook on the nose, or let the snake bump against the hook, then pick them up with the hook. This "turns off" the feeding response and lets the snake know that it's not time for food but time to come out of the enclosure. If you have a snake like a reticulated python hook training is a great thing to start when they are little. Retics have a very strong feeding response. And always make sure you've washed your hands before handling your snake so you don't smell like possible food.