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  • [Behavior] Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

    I've had a ball python for a while and just recently adopted a 5 foot boa. She was really similar to my BP when I met and handled her, but after getting her home for a while every time I handle here she is very hyper and uncoordinated. I know boas move more but she won't make sure she is stable before moving, like when she is going from one arm to the other she won't ensure there is a stable grip and her tail will just swing down. This startles her and she starts trying to climb onto my neck (not comfortable with this yet) and in general freaks out.

    She's not stargazing or anything and is shedding/eating normally. Good temperature gradient and humidity in her enclosure, along with a nice comfy hide. Am I crazy or is this fairly normal boa behavior?

  • #2
    Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

    It sounds like she's very unused to being handed. Try sitting on the floor with her in your lap for a while when you work with her so even if she does fall she doesn't drop very far and then freak out.

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    • #3
      Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

      I was thinking that too but if she was going from one branch to another would she just lose grip in the same way?

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      • #4
        Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

        Originally posted by ShivaCamo View Post
        I was thinking that too but if she was going from one branch to another would she just lose grip in the same way?
        She shouldn't...snakes don't want to fall & instinctively hold on, whether it's our neck (preventable!) or a branch, unless they have something else affecting them, like a spinal injury, inherited muscle weakness etc etc.

        If she is unable to hang onto branches, make sure they are very low to the cage floor so she isn't repeatedly injured by falling, or better yet, just take the branches out for now, while you figure this out.

        She may improve in time, if she has just been kept in a small cage with little exercise. Another thing, since we're not seeing the snake: a boa is heavy-bodied and not designed to climb the way many other snakes are.

        The difference is far more noticeable if the boa is at all overweight...and at 5' she isn't going to be able to climb the way a baby boa does. But even a big adult boa normally hangs on with their tail.

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        • #5
          Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

          I concur that she is probably weak. She was kept by someone afraid of her and wasn't handled often or in a proper cage. I'm leaning toward this rather than an illness or injury so it's great to hear from everyone that this isn't unheard of.

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          • #6
            Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

            Poor snake....I hope that life goes better for her now...and that you'll see improvement in time.

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            • #7
              Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

              Boas ARE definitely made to climb, they are often found in trees in the wild, I have seen it first hand. However. A snake that is trying to get away will abandon their care for "safety" as the present danger is not falling but the object they are trying to get away from. Its a present moment type of thing and is part of the fight or flight response. Because this boa was not handled frequently its likely just exhibiting tis natural response. Time and handling may fix the issue, but it may not. I have a 5 year old male that has been like this since day 1. Could it be something else? Sure, but by your description and knowledge the prior owner not handling, I would guess that this is the issue. Definitely keep handling sessions short and over time this behavior may cease. good luck

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              • #8
                Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

                I've been handling while sitting on the floor instead and it's been going much better, that was a great suggestion. It's also much more peaceful for both of us so she should feel more relaxed.

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                • #9
                  Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

                  Originally posted by ShivaCamo View Post
                  I've been handling while sitting on the floor instead and it's been going much better, that was a great suggestion. It's also much more peaceful for both of us so she should feel more relaxed.
                  Beds work very well too, but avoid furniture like couches...you'd be surprised how many snakes find a hole under a cushion & disappear inside, requiring "surgery" to retrieve the snake. (Couches don't heal very well, lol...)

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                  • #10
                    Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

                    Yeah I almost lost (not really lost but ...) my Ball down in my rocker/recliner. Just took my eye off of her for one minute and she was half way down inside of it. I had to get my wife to push down on the cushion so I could slide my hand up her neck and stop her from getting a good grip on something inside. Taught me a lesson so now when I have my little Hog Island out for exploring I am very watchful (quite a bit quicker than the ball) of him/her. But the boa is not sure of certain surfaces and hangs onto me quite tightly so our time exploring is quite interesting.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

                      Originally posted by BWBROWN View Post
                      Yeah I almost lost (not really lost but ...) my Ball down in my rocker/recliner. Just took my eye off of her for one minute and she was half way down inside of it. I had to get my wife to push down on the cushion so I could slide my hand up her neck and stop her from getting a good grip on something inside. Taught me a lesson so now when I have my little Hog Island out for exploring I am very watchful (quite a bit quicker than the ball) of him/her. But the boa is not sure of certain surfaces and hangs onto me quite tightly so our time exploring is quite interesting.
                      Most of us get that 'lesson' sooner or later...some with better luck than others as to whether there's any injury to the snake (you can really do damage accidentally by pulling on a snake's body) so avoiding these
                      situations (-finding your snake halfway into a deep hole-) is truly important. Thanks for sharing your experience. Anticipating what a snake will do is even harder for children who are allowed to handle...just some-
                      thing to keep in mind. Snakes seem to have a magnetic attraction to sofa cushions, lol...

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                      • #12
                        Re: Handling: Hyper and uncoordinated

                        Originally posted by Noelle7206 View Post
                        Most of us get that 'lesson' sooner or later...some with better luck than others as to whether there's any injury to the snake (you can really do damage accidentally by pulling on a snake's body) so avoiding these
                        situations (-finding your snake halfway into a deep hole-) is truly important. Thanks for sharing your experience. Anticipating what a snake will do is even harder for children who are allowed to handle...just some-
                        thing to keep in mind. Snakes seem to have a magnetic attraction to sofa cushions, lol...
                        I had a ball python try to go into the crack of an open doorway above the middle hinge. We had to remove the door.

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