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Behavior General topics or questions concerning the way your cornsnake may be acting.

Corn With BAD Attitude
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Old 06-13-2018, 11:08 PM   #1
maausen
Corn With BAD Attitude

I need some help. I got a new corn three months back. He was okay handling wise for 2 months but for the last month has just been.. well.. a peach to be around. I will go in for a cleaning and he flies out of the hide reared back and ready to bite. Once I manage to get him from attaching to every branch and side of the tank, he really loves to bite me. They have yet to be hard but I do fear him wrapping.. I just have no idea why all the sudden he has been a mean snake but I fear I may have to re-home if working with him doesn't work..

He eats great 1x weekly on an adult mouse and temps shouldn't be a problem.. I just am at a loss as to what to do if I can't even go in for a cage cleaning without Jaws coming to get me!
 
Old 06-14-2018, 05:55 AM   #2
Raven
I had ones like that. A few questions - how old is your snake? Where do you feed him? Do you have background info on him? Is he in shed? Do you have a female snake too?

I have one male that gets particularly excited during the spring. He's normally one of my sweetest snakes but is a bit challenging for a few months. My newest female will launch herself at you snapping while she's in shed (that was a particularly fun experience).

What I found works (for most but not all - just like people and any other animal personalities are individual): make sure you wash your hands with the same soap before handling or going into his tank. Mine do well with a natural scent. This way the scent is always the same. I would definitely take him out before cleaning his tank and never feed in the tank. Use gloves. I like gardening gloves, but I had a bitey python once and needed thick leather ones. Snake hooks are good too. This will give you confidence and his smell will be on the gloves. Go slow but confidently. Sometimes just work with him on just being ok with your hand in the tank. Once he relaxes with you present, leave him alone/put him back/go away.

Hope that helped a bit. There are many ways to work with them and I'm sure someone with more experience may have better solutions.
 
Old 06-14-2018, 08:29 AM   #3
maausen
Thanks for the reply Raven. He is a 4 year old male corn. I feed inside the tank with all my snakes. He is actually a beautiful okeetee from Stephen Roylance!I'll continue to try and work with him but I know if I even go near the tank he will rear up and be ready to bite. I am hoping for more to chime in!
 
Old 06-14-2018, 09:13 AM   #4
Twolunger
If you do the same thing over and over you can't expect a different result. There's a big difference between a corn that mistakes your fingers for a meal, and one that's scared and assumes a defensive mode. It would seem that yours is being very defensive. I don't like being bitten, and always flinch, even if the bite doesn't draw blood. I'm wondering if there was a traumatic experience in the past that is triggering his response. I'll give you an example. While cleaning my rack containers I left one slightly open while I added water. A male got out and coiled around a heat cable in back of the rack. I tried unwrapping him and pulling him out and he bit me 3 times. Now I had handled him many times before and he was always gentle. Now when I clean his container or change his water he rears up and strikes. I'm sure it's going to take me some time to handle him and gain his confidence that I mean no harm.

If I were you the first thing I would do is feed him in a separate vivarium or container. Then I would buy disposable latex , or similar, gloves and start handling him daily if possible. Don't pull him out of his hide, that's where he feels safe. Only handle him when he's roaming around his vivarium. The gloves will mask your scent and if he bites he will soon learn that it is ineffective and hopefully stop. Repeated gentle handling will hopefully calm him down. Good luck and let us know if you are successful.
 
Old 06-14-2018, 10:29 AM   #5
Raven
I agree with Twolunger. It takes a ton not to flinch when bitten, even when it doesn't hurt. It's a reflex reaction. One that caused an eel to fly but that's another story. That's why I use gloves with a snake that has questionable/unpredictable behavior. It keeps ME calm and confident which helps the snake relax.

Does your presence by the tank alone make him edgy or just when you are in his tank?
 
Old 06-14-2018, 09:50 PM   #6
maausen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twolunger View Post
If you do the same thing over and over you can't expect a different result. There's a big difference between a corn that mistakes your fingers for a meal, and one that's scared and assumes a defensive mode. It would seem that yours is being very defensive. I don't like being bitten, and always flinch, even if the bite doesn't draw blood. I'm wondering if there was a traumatic experience in the past that is triggering his response. I'll give you an example. While cleaning my rack containers I left one slightly open while I added water. A male got out and coiled around a heat cable in back of the rack. I tried unwrapping him and pulling him out and he bit me 3 times. Now I had handled him many times before and he was always gentle. Now when I clean his container or change his water he rears up and strikes. I'm sure it's going to take me some time to handle him and gain his confidence that I mean no harm.

If I were you the first thing I would do is feed him in a separate vivarium or container. Then I would buy disposable latex , or similar, gloves and start handling him daily if possible. Don't pull him out of his hide, that's where he feels safe. Only handle him when he's roaming around his vivarium. The gloves will mask your scent and if he bites he will soon learn that it is ineffective and hopefully stop. Repeated gentle handling will hopefully calm him down. Good luck and let us know if you are successful.
Okay I will start feeding in a separate tub. Do you think this is him associating me in his tank being food time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven View Post
I agree with Twolunger. It takes a ton not to flinch when bitten, even when it doesn't hurt. It's a reflex reaction. One that caused an eel to fly but that's another story. That's why I use gloves with a snake that has questionable/unpredictable behavior. It keeps ME calm and confident which helps the snake relax.

Does your presence by the tank alone make him edgy or just when you are in his tank?
Yes whenever I go near that side of the room he is ready to go at me.
 
Old 06-14-2018, 09:58 PM   #7
maausen
and yes I flinch real bad when he strikes. I also have notices he is starting to hit harder when he strikes. He's getting more and more aggresive and I am sure it is because of my reaction to his bites and how I leave him alone after.

How do you suggest I go about this? I try to reach in and he immediately starting speeding towards my hand. I know I am going to get bit by the time he comes and when I go to pick him up he starts thrashing like no other..
 
Old 06-15-2018, 12:13 AM   #8
Twolunger
That doesn't sound like a food response, however eliminating the possibility will allow you to move along to the other means of taming him. The gentle approach we usually follow probably won't work with him. Wear the gloves and if he strikes at one hand, pick him up with the other. If he is truly scared he will attempt to flee. Try to keep moving him from hand to hand until he calms down. He may musk, or expel feces, so you may want to have an old towel handy. Being timid in handling him will probably only encourage the bad behavior, so be carefully forceful. I would work with him every day and even twice a day if you have time.
 
Old 06-15-2018, 06:08 AM   #9
Raven
There is a lot going on with your snake here. Definitely feed him in a separate area and use tongs. Try feeding frozen not live as well. I would also suggest going into the room that he's in calmly and ignoring him. Don't even look at the tank or react to it. Go sit near the tank if possible and read a book or play on your phone. Let your snake do his thing. Don't react to him or look. Once he stops reacting to your presence give it another minute and then leave. Repeat this process randomly a few times a day increasing your stay time.

Handling him will take some bravery on your part. Again, it's important to stay calm and nonreactive. Wash your hands and arms really well before putting your hands in his tank! Wear gloves. In your case you may need ones that come up your arms a bit or wear long sleeves to give you more confidence. I like gardening gloves (or the winter gloves with smooth rubber gripper bumps), they are thick enough but you can still control fine movements. You won't feel him strike you even if he tries. I don't wash my gloves (unless handling multiple snakes or soiled) that way they smell like the snake I am working with. Do not work with this snake while he is in shed or the day or so following. Give him his space during that time period.

Start with just calmly having your hand in the tank (this step does not work for all snakes and you may need to work with him out of the tank first then do this, but it is worth a shot). Remain still, let him explore and throw a fit. Don't try to pick him up and don't move. The goal is for him to realize that you are not a threat and he's not going to scare you away. Once he calms down take your hand out. Repeat this a few times during the day.

You will need to handle him more often than other snakes initially for small intervals. Again, with gloves. You may want to try a snake hook too. Calmly and confidently take him out. There is a possibility of him musking (which will smell bad very bad). If he is near your bed or furniture, I'd cover it first just in case. I had one that would whip her tail around while musking. Your snake will most likely be moving fast in an attempt to get away from you. Just keep moving your hands to maintain contact calmly but confidently (possibly a bit more firmly than your relaxed snakes). Once he relaxes, give it another minute or so and calmly put him back and leave him. Increase the times you are holding him after he calms down. Try to time some of these sessions with when he is naturally out and exploring.

Good luck! I hope it helps and keep us posted.
 
Old 06-16-2018, 11:53 AM   #10
maausen
Quote:
Originally Posted by Twolunger View Post
That doesn't sound like a food response, however eliminating the possibility will allow you to move along to the other means of taming him. The gentle approach we usually follow probably won't work with him. Wear the gloves and if he strikes at one hand, pick him up with the other. If he is truly scared he will attempt to flee. Try to keep moving him from hand to hand until he calms down. He may musk, or expel feces, so you may want to have an old towel handy. Being timid in handling him will probably only encourage the bad behavior, so be carefully forceful. I would work with him every day and even twice a day if you have time.
I will work up to working with him so much for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Raven View Post
There is a lot going on with your snake here. Definitely feed him in a separate area and use tongs. Try feeding frozen not live as well. I would also suggest going into the room that he's in calmly and ignoring him. Don't even look at the tank or react to it. Go sit near the tank if possible and read a book or play on your phone. Let your snake do his thing. Don't react to him or look. Once he stops reacting to your presence give it another minute and then leave. Repeat this process randomly a few times a day increasing your stay time.

Handling him will take some bravery on your part. Again, it's important to stay calm and nonreactive. Wash your hands and arms really well before putting your hands in his tank! Wear gloves. In your case you may need ones that come up your arms a bit or wear long sleeves to give you more confidence. I like gardening gloves (or the winter gloves with smooth rubber gripper bumps), they are thick enough but you can still control fine movements. You won't feel him strike you even if he tries. I don't wash my gloves (unless handling multiple snakes or soiled) that way they smell like the snake I am working with. Do not work with this snake while he is in shed or the day or so following. Give him his space during that time period.

Start with just calmly having your hand in the tank (this step does not work for all snakes and you may need to work with him out of the tank first then do this, but it is worth a shot). Remain still, let him explore and throw a fit. Don't try to pick him up and don't move. The goal is for him to realize that you are not a threat and he's not going to scare you away. Once he calms down take your hand out. Repeat this a few times during the day.

You will need to handle him more often than other snakes initially for small intervals. Again, with gloves. You may want to try a snake hook too. Calmly and confidently take him out. There is a possibility of him musking (which will smell bad very bad). If he is near your bed or furniture, I'd cover it first just in case. I had one that would whip her tail around while musking. Your snake will most likely be moving fast in an attempt to get away from you. Just keep moving your hands to maintain contact calmly but confidently (possibly a bit more firmly than your relaxed snakes). Once he relaxes, give it another minute or so and calmly put him back and leave him. Increase the times you are holding him after he calms down. Try to time some of these sessions with when he is naturally out and exploring.

Good luck! I hope it helps and keep us posted.
Yesterday I had to clean his tank so I had to get him out in order to clean. He was the normal pissed off guy I usually see but the gloves and long sleeves definitely helped. Is there any chance he would wrap and constrict? I guess that is my only concern.

I also noticed when I am holding him he has his head against my hand or arm and just barely flicks his tongue out. He moves slowly up and down my arm as if trying to find a spot he smells specifically before opening his jaws slowly and biting down. It is very weird. Instead of just nipping at me he does it slow and menacingly haha
 

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