- Mr. Mordax wrote:
- Beautiful specimens again!
How is the retic's attitude? I've heard these guys are pretty edgy.
Thanks Mike. Well edgy is right, I've the 'priveldege' of accumulating so many 'memorable' moments with many retics throughout my experience ranging from adorable large-headed newborns to collosal giants in excess of 20ft (whoa!? just had a flashback). Anyways retics are by far the most upfront of all pythons. They have a mean streak that is stuff of legends. House-breaking Retics
- There is no full-proof method for this, bearing in mind that its absolutely impossible to domesticate or train any snake, but i is possible to condition them since quite a few species have astonishing learning capabilities. When my retic first came in, it was the definition of fiesty. It was extracted from an urban residence that it wondered into from the depleting forest behind. We bagged it and stored it in a plastic tub not unlike the one in the picture with clip-on lids. Whenever we would open the box, it will be stirred in annoyance, huffing and puffing, coiled to strike with half its body raised, eyes fixed on your position, following you revery move and should you inch forward within its striking range it won't hesitate to lunge out at your face with almost half its body length . So we left it alone in the box with a water bowl and newspaper bedding for about two weeks, checking on it to monitor its progress and cleaning needs on a daily basis or once every two days or so each time trying to limit the amount of imoposed aggravation by attempted handling.
After two weeks they get bit hungry and less high-string due to lack of energy or maybe they just get fed-up,we initiated the 1st feeding, 1 large rat (live) or several large mice. Most will readiy jump at it. Hunger and desperation makes them a bit more reckless. Often many retics will refuse to eat in captivity, so as far as wild caught specimens are concern, the 'starvation' period is essential for rapid conditioning. We may then proceed to 'hand'-feeding or more preferably 'tong' (not thong) feeding.*
*Warning, I don't care who you think you are, Steve Irwin or Mark O' Shea, I promiss you that if ever make the mistake of underestimating any sizable constrictor, especially those in excess 10 ft with jaws large enough to get around your arm, you're folly will end in nothing short of tears that hopefully will be just your own than lets say.... lets not get there. In all seriousness, from the short-list of animals that will effectively kill you in its mere attempt to size you up as a 'meal', from tigers, lions, grizzlys, great white sharks, retics hold a full-time memebership and a life-long official human-hunting liscence. It cannot be said enough that though the venom of cobras, mambas, rattlesnakse or any poisonous snake in the world will take anywhere between 20 minutes to 2 hours to take ultimate effect, the coils of any large constrictor is desgined to render you helplessly and irreversibly incapacitated (i.e. unrevivably dead) in under 2 minutes, and this goes double for retics.
Tong-feeding will condition the snake to recieve prey in human presence and also allow it to differntiate between the smell of its prey and essentially you're scent. Therefore it is extremely important that you have no direct contact with anything that the snake's food has touched (i.e. mice, rats, thawed chicken drumsticks). Mine was still fiesty and resistant to handling after a couple of tong feedings. In the event that the snake is observed to become familiar with the feeding process, we may proceed to 1st contact. I adorned a relatively thick old pair of jeans and walked my right knee up against its opened box and it struck. But immediately struggled to free its teeth from the threading. It learned really quick that any repeated measure in this course of action will ammount to nothing but oral discomfort.
If your're retic proceeds to coil around your leg and cut of your blood circulation, pour any form of strong alchohol (industrial strength ethanol works better than whisky or consumables in this case) on its head. This will cause the biggest python to release its hold in sustained convulsions of respitory asphixiation, but mind you this resolve can effectively kill smaller ones and may render permanant damage to some individuals again depending again on the poison of your choice but at this point when its a matter of the snake's life and yours..... Either way, being the relatively intelligent snakes that they are, they learn their lessons really quick. I wish some of my university students had this kind of learning response, hmmm. Effectively your python will reattempt no such thing lol.
*I shall you remind you once again that I shall not be held responsible for the demise or suffering caused towards you or those around you should you unwitingly attempt at home what I share here as nothing more than personal experience. Retics are to be given the upmost respect for their ability to effotlessly cause you severe damamge. A 10ft snake will sink its many rows of long needle-like teeth into you flesh, and pull back with so much force that will leave deep, profusely-bleeding gashes that will no doubt catch an infection that might even render you bed-ridden with fever (1st hand experience). On top of that it could potentially leave very prominent scars.
The 1st time you pick up your WC Retic you may choose to go for the quick and direct approach but I consider this to be very risky . The apporach I used was to gently prod the snake with the soft handle of the snake hook to gauge its current level of temperemant. Position it under the front portion of the body getnly and slowly lifting the snake, DON'T LOOSE SIGHT OF THE HEAD!!!! and gently with you other hand, pick up the rear portion. Once you effectively support the snake's entire weight off the ground, with the animal showing no signs of potential retaliation or aggression, everything is smooth sailing from there on in. The snake should be familiar with your scent by now as the pestering living 'tree' who to comes peridicaly as tosses it edible food.
My retic has since become adorably affectionate, surprinsingly. Whenever 'she' (I think) is handed to someone else for handling, she strongly gestures to me for security. Its all really based on understanding the fundamental sense by which snakes customarily interacts with their environment: scent and smell. All snakes are to a varying degree predominantly driven by smell and scent. That's why I soap my hands thoroughly if I should handle any snake especially after I have just been handling their food items. It is plausible to believe some snakes will identify with the brand of hand-soap you use.
To this day I would never pick up my retic straight away with bare hands. I will always use the snake hook as an initial safetybuffer between me and its jaws in the event of the untoward. I'm reminded to take heed of this everytime I bear witness to it fiercely shooting like rocket a good 2 FEET OUTSIDE its opened-tank to grab the tong-held drumstick at feeding time. Additionally just because she occasionly displays a percievable degree of affectionate endurement towards me, I am certain that she is not one to stick around should she be left alone with access to an open door or window.
Finally I don't profess to be some kinda of expert in the field, but I can resonably hold my own when dealing with these animals due to fact I don't go out of my way to take uneccesary risks. My intention is to merely share my experience.
At best I sincerely hope you found this an entertaing if not informative read .
WATCH OUT FOR THAT HEAD!!!!
P.S I will post more snapshots or footage on this thread of the measures I spoke of as soon as I can capture some good ones. Managing a large snake with one hand and a camera in the other, is a potential recipe for disaster.