Do Snakes Like Being Held? Understanding Snakes Behavior

Snakes are often seen as creatures to be feared and avoided, but throughout time, people have come to adopt these majestic animals as pets. Indeed, snakes are more than their fear-inducing appearance. But does that mean they like being held just like other pets? 

Snakes do not like being held. At best, they tolerate it, or they get used to the warmth the person holding them provides. Snakes can be defensive if touched suddenly, and certain species may never get used to handling. You need to be careful if you adopt these snake species as pets.

Unlike the usual cat and dog, snakes aren’t domesticated, so they’re not eager to be held. But what about the ones reptile owners take pictures of wrapped around their arms? We’ll talk about that in this article.

Snakes That Like Being Held

Typical pets, like cats and dogs, like being cuddled and hugged. Although snakes have transcended their reputation and have even become exotic pets, they aren’t near liking the sensation of human touch.

However, some species can tolerate human touch and get used to it over time. That’s because they are mainly docile, and most are bred in captivity, so they get exposed to humans often. 

Here are some snakes that would tolerate being held: 

  • Ball pythons 
  • Corn snakes 
  • King snakes 
  • Rubber boa 
  • Rosy boa 
  • Garter snake
  • Gopher snake
  • Rat snakes  

The docile nature of these snake species makes them suited for handling and ownership by beginner snake owners. This personality has led them to be popular among reptile enthusiasts. 

But despite their chill demeanor, it doesn’t mean you can scoop one up immediately after meeting them. Getting them to wrap themselves around your fingers or arms takes time and careful handling.

Thus, there’s a lot of training, patience, and understanding behind all the cool snake pics among pet owners and their slithery friends. Also, if you’re wondering how snakes feel, they aren’t cold or slimy. Their skin is dry and can even be soft and warm. 

How To Make Snakes Get Used to Being Held

If you are ready to fully commit to caring for a pet snake, you’ll need to learn how to handle one. 

Here are some tips on handling snakes: 

  • Note signs of aggression. Pet snake owners must always know when their snake is aggressive or defensive. One example is if their neck forms an S-shape or striking position. It’s a sign that you should immediately back down and leave them alone. 
  • Let them adjust on their first days. Do not touch your pet snake when they have just arrived in its new home. Let them be for one week so they have time to adjust to the environment before adjusting to you.
  • Move stuff around. After an adjustment period, when your snake isn’t too aggressive anymore, try moving things around their new home. It’s a safe way to introduce your presence to them.
  • Hold your hand out in front of them. With snakes, it’s always best to start with a bit of distance. Thus, start by putting your hand before them for a few days. 
  • Wear gloves if you prefer. If you’re apprehensive, you can wear gloves for protection. 
  • Get a snake hook. Besides gloves, another protective tool or device you can use is the snake hook. It’s convenient and safe for picking up your slithery friend. You can also pick them up with a snake hook every handling time so they’d associate the tool with handling.
  • Do not hold or touch the head or tail. If you and your snake are ready to bridge the distance, do not go for the head or tail. Touch them by the sides or grab them by the middle of their body. It’s best to start picking them up after they’ve had four meals already.
  • Be confident. Your snake can tell when you’re scared, which can make them apprehensive, too.
  • Avoid associating handling time with feeding time. Feed your snake in another enclosure. Do not touch your snake while smelling like their food or other prey items like mice.
  • Do not pick them up while they are digesting. Because snakes swallow their food whole and they’re slender, you can see if they’re still digesting because of the bulge in their body. If that bulge is still there, do not pick them up and let them process their food in peace.
  • Point the snake’s head away from your body. Doing this helps avoid getting bitten or struck by the reptile.
  • Befriend your snake. Spend more time with the creature. Always ensure your snake is comfortable, and do not push yourself when they don’t want it.

These tips are just a few pieces of knowledge you’ll need as a snake owner. To prepare yourself, conduct in-depth research and reach out to experts or experienced snake owners. Needs vary between snake specie, so make your preparations specific to the one you’re getting. 

Do Ball Pythons Like To Be Held?

Ball pythons are one of the most popular pet snakes. That can be credited to their generally docile personality. This makes them suitable for beginners and handling, but that’s not always the case. 

Ball pythons don’t necessarily like to be held, but due to their docile personality, they usually tolerate being held. However, some won’t ever get used to being handled. And even if they are tolerant, there may be instances when they’ll strike, such as when they think your hand is food.

Even when handling docile snakes like ball pythons, there’s no guarantee that you won’t get bitten or hurt. Some will not tolerate handling, even when you try to train them. 

On the other hand, some snakes tolerate handling but will strike on occasion. These are some reasons: 

  • The snake is sick. 
  • The snake feels threatened and is defensive. 
  • They think your hand is food.
  • Their eye caps are shedding, affecting their vision. 

These reasons may also apply to other snake species, not just ball pythons. 

Are Ball Pythons Friendly?

Ball pythons are friendly and docile snakes. Their temperament makes them appropriate for beginners. However, some ball pythons may not be as receptive to touch and handling as other co-species. 

Do Corn Snakes Like To Be Held?

Corn snakes like to be held due to their docile personality. However, you should handle them for up to 15 minutes only. Otherwise, handling will affect their core temperature. You should also handle corn snakes gently, with one hand near the head and another near the tail. 

If you decide to get a corn snake, here are some specifics you should know about them: 

  • They can live up to 15 years and grow to 59 inches (150 cm). 
  • You should provide them with a basking zone with a temperature range of 82.4°F to 86°F (28°C to 30°C). 
  • There should also be a cool end to the basking zone, and the temperature range should be 68°F to 75.2°F (20°C to 24°C).
  • Their enclosure should maintain a humidity level of 40% to 50%. 
  • Provide UV lighting and set day and night lighting patterns. 

Final Thoughts

Snakes will likely never cuddle with you as dogs and cats do. But they can tolerate and maybe even like being held over time. Handling your snake requires time and patience, which you must commit to before getting your slithery friend. 

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