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Monday, March 8, 2010

I've Been Snake Bit!

My poor poor python, Madmartigan. He was shedding this afternoon and apparently had a little bit of difficulty getting the last bit of skin off of his tail. I have assisted my snake Razelle numerous times and even helped Sorscha. Kevin has assisted all three of them before with the only mishap being they excreted on him in the process.

Now Madmartigan likely could have completed his shed on his own in time, however, it is my understanding that the dry dead skin tend to be uncomfortable and itchy to the poor reptiles. I pulled him out of his tank and when I noticed he still had some skin, assisted him in removing the skin. He did pee and poop all over the floor right as I finished helping remove the skin, that was nice and messy.

I placed the freshly shed snake back into his tank and then realized I hadn't fixed the 'log' that they like to hide in so it was all cockeyed. I tried to move him out of the way again, and he flat refused to cooperate, however he did get into a position that I felt I could relocate the log without injuring him. I reached in to grab a small piece of the shed skin that was laying around and poor little Madmartigan firmly let me know that he'd had enough of me poking around in there.

Do you see it? I was shocked and surprised to say the least, and of course jerked my hand back as is the typical reaction of the human species when shocked and surprised. Luckily for me and more importantly the snake, he only struck and did not BITE and wrap as if he were feeding. My jerking could have caused severe damamge to him and likely more damage to myself as well. As you can see, or not, in the above picture, I was not really hurt by this bite. Here is a closer view so you can see what the bite looks like.

Keep in mind, that is my middle finger, so the scratches (because that's all they are) are very small. I've had worse from tripping over my own two feet. Some people who are unfamiliar with snakes will often use the excuse that they might get bitten to have one. I post this because I KNEW I'd get bitten eventually, it's a given when you have 4 snakes in the house as pets. However, what a lot of people don't realize is that most snakes, like any animal, will only bite when they are hungry or when they are aggitated and feel threatened. The python does not have fangs either, not all snakes have fangs. They do all have teeth.

The teeth in his mouth are very sharp and very thin, hence the scratches on my finger when he just barely touched me with them. They are also tilted toward the back of his mouth. This assists him in swallowing his food.

So, I have officially been bitten by a snake, I feel like a real herper now! Did it hurt? No, he was already pulled back from my hand before my slow human response kicked in, if I hadn't seen him strike at me I may not have even realized that he did for a few seconds. As for all snakes, I cannot say that a strike and bite will be this painless and trivial, the larger the snake, the larger the teeth. Snakes are very fast and can strike with little to no warning. This is the first time my snake, any of them, has ever struck me or even at me. It was also due to the fact that I was really stressing him out at the time. Next time he sheds, I'll know to be a little more easy with him!


  1. I had a friend in grad school who had a 15 foot python that liked to lay curled under the couch and then come slithering up your leg as you sat there talking. Took some getting used to as the snake got a bit upset if you moved too much while it was crawling up.

    My friend and his roomies waited until after 10 when the pool in the center of the complex closed and then took the snake down for a swim once a week. The snake loved that. I was just amazed at how fast that snake could swim.

  2. Wow, you are so calm; always the sign of a responsible snake owner. My friend's dad owned snakes and he also said that he knew one day, he'd be bitten. Great post. x


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