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Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

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  • [Handling] Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

    Hi guys, so I've been reading and I have found mixed answers to this question. I feel 2-3 times a week would not exactly make him feel neglected, but just simply not enough to really become acquainted with me.

    I am wondering if a daily handling while he is still young (2 Months) is an acceptable way of trying to keep him docile and tame. I have not had a single issue thus far within which he has exhibited any aggressive behavior. Is that because he might just be that mellow? Or because I've handled him enough that he really does feel secure during handling. Please let me know!

    PS - I've been thinking of having my girlfriend record me handling him so I can post it and ask if he seems to be exhibiting any behavior that might not be aggressive as much as it is defensive. I understand that if he becomes aggressive it is most likely something I am doing wrong.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  • #2
    Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

    As long as he has settled in with you for at least a week and he is doing good I say handle him except after feeding for a day maybe 2. I usually wait until the lump isn't visible. Don't handle during shed. Other than that. I handle mine for short periods daily and about once a week I will keep them out for maybe 30 minutes while watching tv. It seems to help mine stay docile and used to my scent and touch. I'm sure others will respond. This is just what seems to work for me.

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    • #3
      Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

      Snakes don't "feel neglected". They rely on instincts from birth or hatching. There is also no rush to "keep him docile and tame". Snakes have various personalities, some bolder than others. The ones that seem more
      docile may be the ones that wouldn't thrive in the wild, or it may just be fear of us. What you are calling "aggression" is actually self-defense...snakes need time to adjust to us. Try to remember just how big & scary WE
      are to our snakes, & be patient.

      For me the question comes down to how long you've had this snake? When you first get a snake (whether it's shipped to your or brought home locally) it's best to NOT handle them at all for as long as it takes for them to
      eat several times at normal intervals. The reason is that handling is NOT normal* for snakes and it can interfere with their instincts toward food, causing some to refuse to eat & then not thrive. *Remember that in the wild
      the only thing that normally picks up a snake is a predator about to eat it! Yes, snakes learn to overcome their innate fear of us...but with new acquisitions (even if they are adults) it's better to error on the side of caution
      than to mess up our new pets. Waiting a couple weeks for them to eat well & settle in may be difficult for us...but it's the best policy for them. After that, pay attention to how your individual snake reacts to handling...if it
      seems to be affecting his appetite or if he seems stressed, it's too much too soon.

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      • #4
        Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

        Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
        Snakes don't "feel neglected". They rely on instincts from birth or hatching. There is also no rush to "keep him docile and tame". Snakes have various personalities, some bolder than others. The ones that seem more
        docile may be the ones that wouldn't thrive in the wild, or it may just be fear of us. What you are calling "aggression" is actually self-defense...snakes need time to adjust to us. Try to remember just how big & scary WE
        are to our snakes, & be patient.

        For me the question comes down to how long you've had this snake? When you first get a snake (whether it's shipped to your or brought home locally) it's best to NOT handle them at all for as long as it takes for them to
        eat several times at normal intervals. The reason is that handling is NOT normal* for snakes and it can interfere with their instincts toward food, causing some to refuse to eat & then not thrive. *Remember that in the wild
        the only thing that normally picks up a snake is a predator about to eat it! Yes, snakes learn to overcome their innate fear of us...but with new acquisitions (even if they are adults) it's better to error on the side of caution
        than to mess up our new pets. Waiting a couple weeks for them to eat well & settle in may be difficult for us...but it's the best policy for them. After that, pay attention to how your individual snake reacts to handling...if it
        seems to be affecting his appetite or if he seems stressed, it's too much too soon.
        Well he was bred by a friend of a friend, which is why I was able to get him for pretty much free, which was red flag, as I thought there may be something wrong with him. In feeding him for the first time, I waited 2 days before handling him. I think I may just be overthinking it. I am quite a paranoid individual and I fear for his well being, but that's besides the point. He is 2 months old now, and has been handled with not a single issue.

        He never seems to be afraid, or defensive. I know he's been handled many times because the breeder in question has over 30+ boas, as well as other reptiles. So that said, my question was simply is it okay to handle them daily for short periods, as opposed to just 2-3 times a week.

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        • #5
          Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

          Your boa will never feel neglected. Your boa could actually care less if you were to ever mess with him/her other than to provide food and water. One of the best things about snakes is that you can go on vacation for a week or two and as long as they have had water, they could care less if you are home or not. They are not needy the way most mammals are when it comes to a relationship with their owner.

          Socialization is something that comes with time and handling, but keep in mind that there are some boas that simply are unable to be tamed. Those certain boas will never allow themselves to be handled easily, but that doesn't mean that they can't be kept.
          "An increase in reptile education can lead to a decrease in reptile discrimination." - Bebo

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          • #6
            Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

            It sounds like you are doing ok with your new pet. I have some snakes that would love to be out and held every day, others, not so much! Each one is different. Learn your boa's body language and if it starts moving around and seeming like it's nervous being out, it probably is. Post some pictures when you can.
            Last edited by zamora; 06-11-2015, 08:07 AM. Reason: sse
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            • #7
              Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

              Lots of good advice in this thread. My own advice is to handle at least twice a week. Daily is fine (except after feeding) if the boa is okay with it. Skipping a day or two every so often will not hurt.

              By the way, I have worked with both wild caught adult boas and captive raised boas. IMO, the first year is the most important for taming. So I lean towards handling more often rather than less, if possible. And boas are afraid of falling; try to avoid triggering that fear. Good luck.

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              • #8
                Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

                I don't handle my snakes nearly as often as I wish could. They don't care too much one way or the other. They just want food.


                -Sean in NoCal
                “Americanism means the virtues of courage, honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood – the virtues that made America.”
                -Teddy Roosevelt.

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                • #9
                  Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

                  If it is a newly acquired boa, it needs at least a week if not two to settle in and get used to everything without stressing out. Once that period of time is passed, handling your snake is fine as long as it hasn't just eaten (you don't want it to regurge) or its not in shed. The more it is handled and introduced to different supervised and controlled environments and people (even children and animals), the calmer and more tolerant of being handled its going to be. Forgetting a day or having to miss because the snake is having a bad scale day for whatever reason is okay. Learn your snake, likes and dislikes, and be sure to support it and hold it securely so it doesn't feel like its going to fall and don't put it in situations that make it scared or defensive (other, bigger snakes, large and/or unsupervised pets, etc).

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

                    Originally posted by marya1962 View Post
                    be sure to support it and hold it securely so it doesn't feel like its going to fall and don't put it in situations that make it scared or defensive
                    [MENTION=13187]marya1962[/MENTION] makes an excellent point. A lot of bites occur due to those exact circumstances. A boa will go into panic mode very quickly if it feels unstable, so make sure to give it a nice good platform while maintaining a good grip.
                    "An increase in reptile education can lead to a decrease in reptile discrimination." - Bebo

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

                      Thank you all very much for your insights. Right now, as he is so small, I usually rest near his upper neck, I'd say an inch or two from his head, between my index finger and thumb, and the same for near the end of his body. I hold him according to how he moves. I've been spending a lot of time learning his movement patterns so I can better handle him.

                      So far, as usual, never exhibiting any behavior that I can TELL would be defensive.

                      That said though, while handling him I noticed something. When he starts to coil, there are "folds" on the inside of the coil of skin, and sometimes it looks ever so lightly that the tips of his scales actually point outwards. I have a slight fear he might be getting scale rot? However, I've researched it and he has no redness, no blistering or anything.

                      Is that normal?

                      Also, sorry for the delayed reply, been busy with work this week!

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                      • #12
                        Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

                        Sounds like you are doing fine with the handling.

                        Those folds are normal. They are places where the skin preferentially bends. Humans have similar folds at wrist, elbow, and other joints.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Is it acceptable to handle your baby boa approx. 5-10 mins. daily?

                          Originally posted by paulh View Post
                          Sounds like you are doing fine with the handling.

                          Those folds are normal. They are places where the skin preferentially bends. Humans have similar folds at wrist, elbow, and other joints.
                          Okay awesome. I was concerned considering he has no redness/irritation or blistering. It just appears that the tips of the scales are protruding, almost like little spikes. I was fearing that those scales were peeling off, and not due to shedding. I do believe he may be preparing to shed, so I've decided to monitor him to see if his eyes will change color to signify that he is indeed entering a shed cycle.

                          Thanks for your help!

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