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Old 07-20-2018, 11:44 PM   #1
Taming Dwarf Burms (P.b.progschai)

Here is a question - how is the best way to tame or calm down a Dwarf Burmese Python (Python bivittatus progschai).

I have had mine for about 10 months, now. I estimate they are about 1 year old - at present time. At present they are about 2 feet in length. They are definitely 100% pure progschai - roughly F1-F2 generation of Bob Clark stock.

I feed them regularly about every 7-14 days - with rodents which are roughly equal to their girth. So far I can move them using a snake hook with very little difficulty. As far as handling goes - they are still very defensive. So I regularly use leather gloves - when attempting to handle them.

What I am wondering - is about how much long will it take for them to tame down?
Old 07-21-2018, 12:19 AM   #2
Honestly there's no way to really know. You just have to keep working with them.

I have a female non-dwarf burm about two years old now and 8 feet. Her prior owner was afraid of her so my girl didn't get fed much, and when her owner did have to handle her, he didn't want to get bit so he would pick her up by her tail and "bounce" her up and down so she couldn't climb up to his hand. I've had her over a year and she's still not easy to handle and sadly she may never be with her history.

A couple of tricks I did use when she was smaller:

- I would put her in a pillow case or snake bag, lay on my bed, and let her lay on me while I quietly read a book or messed around on my phone. That way she got used to smelling me while in a safe and comfortable place.

- Once she's out I wouldn't put her back until she'd behaved for a few seconds, which usually meant she had stopped striking out at me, shadows, etc. Speaking of shadows, try to set up the lighting in the room with her enclosure so that you're never backlit, as a large dark shape looming nearby = predator.

- If I didn't have time to take her out I would still give her a rub with the hook, empty paper towel roll, my hand, etc. for a few seconds at least twice a day when I checked the snake enclosures to see if they'd made a mess.

- Multiple short sessions where the snake gets returned to its enclosure quickly are better than longer ones.

When my BRB had a litter a few years ago the babies were super nippy; they are known for that. I would open the hatchling tub, make a fist, put my hand down into the tub, and let them wear themselves out on the back of my hand. Eventually the little nippers figured out that biting me wasn't making me go away so they gave up.

Finally I found this video useful:
Old 07-21-2018, 11:16 AM   #3
Thanks for the tips and the video. I will definitely attempt to apply many of these tips. Hopefully they will work.

I have also heard that you should wait about 3-4 days after their last meal before handling or attempting to handle them? Is this only for larger meals or does it apply to smaller meals as well? I ask because the most recent feeding was Thursday afternoon/evening.

Would waiting just 2 days be okay for a smaller Burm, if they are still being feed crawler/weanling rats?
Old 07-21-2018, 06:20 PM   #4
I always gave mine three days to digest before long(er) handling sessions, but you can still to the hook rubs the days immediately after feeding when you're just checking to ensure they're clean.

At least unlike ball pythons you can handle them in the morning and they'll eat that evening. So, if you feed Sundays then you can handle them Thu-Fri-Sat and Sun morning.
Old 07-21-2018, 11:36 PM   #5
Well - when I checked earlier today - to see how they were doing and give them some fresh water, they were in their hides. Only poking out their heads long enough to see what I was doing.

So having last feed them in the late afternoon/ early evening of the 19th - that would mean I would be able to try to hold them again - late tomorrow afternoon/evening.

Also I am considering - maybe feeding them about once every 8-10 days - instead of once a week - that way I can have 5-7 days straight - handling them, instead of just 4 days.
Old 07-22-2018, 01:25 PM   #6
I'm not a Burm person, but I back my bloods off to one feeding every 10 days once they hit a year old. I would imagine you could do the same with your Burms without any ill effect.
Old 07-22-2018, 09:49 PM   #7
Well - I pretty sure that they can go about every 10 days between feedings for at least a month or so. So that shouldn't be much of problem.

Also it appears that I slightly underestimated their length a bit - it seems to be closer to 26-28 inches, instead of 24 inches.
Old 07-23-2018, 08:24 PM   #8
I really like the idea of handling through a pillow case to get them used to you. I'll be adopting that one!

Just one caveat about backing off their feeding times - I only feed my adult (other species) snakes once every 2 weeks, but I prefer not to handle them in the few days just before their feeding time, as they are, you know, quite keen and hungry by then.....
Old 07-26-2018, 05:54 AM   #9
Well - presently I have been using leather gloves and a snake hook.

I have pick them up with gloves several times - attempting to cover their head and pick them up from behind. Still they always get scared and try to get away.

but when I pick them up using the hook - they are much calmer - although still a bit defensive.

Also once they are out of their tubs - they usually seem to calm down a bit.
Old 07-26-2018, 09:34 AM   #10
Originally Posted by Krj-2501 View Post
Also once they are out of their tubs - they usually seem to calm down a bit.
That's very common.

Also with a tub I find it easier to pull it completely out of the rack and put it on a table or the floor, and then approach the snake from the back to pick it up. Or, if they start running and pop over the side you can sneak a hand underneath and lift them up.

Bear in mind that scared juvenile burms instinctively want climb, so when it's time to put them away it's easiest to put the tub back into the rack, then position their heads just below the tub so they climb up into it, rather than you pushing them down into the tub.

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