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  • [Handling] Size

    What size do boas have to be when another person is required to be a handling buddy? I have 2 five foot boas who are sweet as can be and I am 5'1. I've heard five feet and I've heard six. What's the general consensus?

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  • #2
    Re: Size

    I would say that depends entirely on the size and comfort level of the handler. I personally have never met a boa that made feel I needed help to handle.

    If someone was...diminutive... I could see the need for help on a large female BCC. Or kids. But most adults can handle anything a boa can throw at them.


    -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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    • #3
      Re: Size

      Ok..good to know. Thank you

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      • #4
        Re: Size

        I thought for a 7 or 8 ft female you'd need another handlee

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        • #5
          Re: Size

          Handler*

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          • #6
            Re: Size

            It's hard to throw numbers out.

            Other factors being experience, and hopefully, smarts and a cool head will go hand in hand with experience.

            Proper strength and know how to use it wisely, so as not to hurt the snake.

            The good thing that you have going for you is, assuming that your snakes are still growing, you are gaining good experience at the same rate! And thus, confidence. Which goes a long way.

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            • #7
              Re: Size

              Depends on the snake also. I have a BRB just over six feet that is easy to handle. My Dumerils of the same length can be a handful even if he's just slightly squirrely, because he's so thick and just a lot stronger.

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              • #8
                Re: Size

                We have a five foot rule in my house. Not that either of us can't handle the bigger ones alone, just that their size alone and potential is something that we feel that two (experienced) people need to be in attendance. We both decided not to be a bad handler statistic and that in my eyes is the best way to prevent that.

                All that being said, it's only happened once that one of us needed assistance from the other, there was a time that my husband had out a snake that is always well behaved but was startled when someone knocked on the door and the dogs started barking. She tightened up around his arm and cut the circulation off, he started trying to unwind her but she was too long for him to get enough of her off his arm to do any good. Good thing there were two of us. Just keep safety in mind.
                http://berkeleyknebel.wix.com/mississippimorphs

                Photo credit:Eddie Ard .....Banner Credit:Big PaPa Ernest

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                • #9
                  Re: Size

                  I felt pretty comfortable (safe) handling the BCI I had that got to be 7 1/2', and I'm only several inches taller than you...but we all need to consider honestly our experience, our size, our strength, & our age, as well as
                  the personality of the snakes we're dealing with. It's always wise to 'error on the side of caution'. I can understand your confusion as there are posts about a "6 foot rule" & posts about an "8 foot rule"....please be safe.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Size

                    I've always felt it depends on the personality of the snake. Snakes are all individuals, and some are more active or aggressive than others. Boas are very good at communicating through body language what they are and are not comfortable with. If you are mindful of that, then you should be able to handle your snake by yourself, unless your snakes show you behavior that is unpredictable (which is very uncommon). I have strong doubts that when Sophie gets to be 8 feet or more, that I'll need a handling buddy. Boas are not small snakes, but in comparison to pythons they aren't as big (the only exception being green and yellow anacondas), and have very little track record of attacking humans. If my memory serves me right, there are no records in the United States of a captive boa killing a human being.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Size

                      Originally posted by theartbook35 View Post
                      ....Snakes are all individuals, and some are more active or aggressive than others. Boas are very good at communicating through body language what they are and are not comfortable with. If you are mindful of that, then you should be able to handle your snake by yourself, unless your snakes show you behavior that is unpredictable (which is very uncommon). Boas....have very little track record of attacking humans. If my memory serves me right, there are no records in the United States of a captive boa killing a human being.
                      The very nature of "unpredictable" behavior is that you never see it until it happens. (please re-read zamora's post below & realize just how much experience she & others here have) Also, snakes are not immune to being
                      accidentally startled, or to suddenly decide that they must avoid falling...and they clamp down instinctively on whatever is handy. It's not necessarily an "attack" of any kind.

                      I had an "interesting" experience many years ago with a large shy bull snake that a friend gave me. I had long thick hair then as now, & when I was naively cuddling the snake around my
                      shoulders she got tangled in my hair and reacted by wrapping my neck rather more tightly than I enjoyed. I did get her untangled in time, but I learned just how quickly & easily an innocent
                      situation can change to hazardous. Keep in mind that the snake was NOT "attacking" me...and she was nowhere as big as a boa. Do NOT under-estimate the strength of a snake, and stay
                      open to learning from others....we are here to keep you out of trouble.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Size

                        I think that the bottom line really is knowing your snakes and yourself.

                        I have one boa that is uber aggressive. He has never not tried to bite me. He isn't a large boa. Not even close. I still don't need a second person to handle him. Heck, I can't get anyone else in my house to even come in the room when I do. My point is this: I know what I'm in for with him. My 8 foot, almost 30 lb female (Pandora) is sweet as candy and always calm. My wife, who I'd describe as...diminutive, handles her regularly and my avatar here is my 68 year old mother holding her comfortably. You do need to know your snakes. Yes there can be surprises. Ironically, Pandora is the only one to have successfully bitten me. But once you learn to read them, you can tell when they're stressed. You will know when they've had enough "cuddle time".

                        Even large boas are't super heavy. 60 lbs is a ginormous boa. A reticulated or burmeese python will reach that in less than a year. Most adults can handle them without assistance. My 11 year old regularly handles all but my two bigger females. Ultimately, your own comfort level will decide what is appropriate for you. There is no hard fast rule. Much less consensus. You ask 10 keepers, you'll get 10 different answers!


                        -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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                        • #13
                          Re: Size

                          I think it really depends on both the snake and the keeper whether or not a second handler is required. The comfort level you both feel together is the tell-tale for me. For example, Silk (my boa) is calm and even-tempered and thinks everything and everybody is a tree to be climbed on. I can handle easily consequently. That said, however, I always try to have another person handy when I handle any snake if I can-there are accidents that can happen at any time so I try to be safe as much as possible. A lot has to do with my age-I'm almost 60 and worry more about things than I did when I was younger like broken bones and losing strength competitions.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Size

                            My boa is almost 50lbs... She is super sweet, has never even snapped at anyone. I'm 6'3 225 ish... I have no problems handling her alone. But if she had a tude, I prob wouldn't handle her without a spotter. My g/f is 5'0 105ish and although she has no problem carrying her around the house (she' a gym nut) I never let her or anyone else out of my sight with my boa. It all depends on a lot of variables... including your own experience, size and strength. In general I'd say 6-8 feet is where most adults should consider a spotter.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Size

                              Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
                              The very nature of "unpredictable" behavior is that you never see it until it happens. (please re-read zamora's post below & realize just how much experience she & others here have) Also, snakes are not immune to being
                              accidentally startled, or to suddenly decide that they must avoid falling...and they clamp down instinctively on whatever is handy. It's not necessarily an "attack" of any kind.

                              I had an "interesting" experience many years ago with a large shy bull snake that a friend gave me. I had long thick hair then as now, & when I was naively cuddling the snake around my
                              shoulders she got tangled in my hair and reacted by wrapping my neck rather more tightly than I enjoyed. I did get her untangled in time, but I learned just how quickly & easily an innocent
                              situation can change to hazardous. Keep in mind that the snake was NOT "attacking" me...and she was nowhere as big as a boa. Do NOT under-estimate the strength of a snake, and stay
                              open to learning from others....we are here to keep you out of trouble.
                              All I did was answer the question presented by the person who started the thread. I'm also not sure why you think my sharing my own knowledge, which comes from MY experience with a multitude of snake species, would make you think I am somehow undermining other people in this thread. I also don't know why you need to use such a "schooling" tone with me. You had this same attitude in response to my thread about my boa's nose rubbing behavior. Not sure what I ever did to get on your bad side.

                              Side note: In reference to what Zamora mentioned, I handle Sophie in a closed room, so that my cat cannot entire my room. Sophie has never been startled while I've handled her, because of me doing this. And I don't handle her when I am alone in the apartment. Because my mother is 59, I do occasionally check on her while handling Sophie, mainly because my mother has MS, and does not have the physical strength to handle Sophie if she coils around her arms too tightly. My mother also isn't allowed to hold Sophie on her shoulders, or near her neck and face. I do handle Sophie on my shoulders, and she climbs on my head and rests her nose on my nose (my nose is big and therefore a good chin rest). However, this is from the trust relationship I have built with her over the course of four years, and this is not something anyone else could do with her. Sophie is the only snake I've ever been able to be this way with.

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