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Old 03-21-2006, 10:58 PM   #1
silversg
Question How long is dangerous?

Hi guys,

At what body-length would you say I need to have another person present when I handle my Columbian red-tail? Right now he's just about 6 feet long, and he's very docile. I got him in October of last year. He's the guy in my avatar. His name's Jormungand, Jori for short. He's definitely a placid fellow. He doesn't object to having the top of his head stroked, and he's been a pretty good sport about me cleaning and applying antibiotic ointment to his nose (which he recently scraped up on the lid of his cage, but that's another discussion, and I am getting him a different cage). My dad even pulled him along the carpet a bit by his tail a while ago, and he acted like nothing was even happening. But anyway, I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I'd like to know at what body-length you guys recommend having another person present when I have him out. I've seen a lot of web sites say 8 feet, but I've also seen a couple that said 6 feet, so I thought I'd ask about it here.

Also, I was wondering, if things were to "go sour," I guess is the term I'd use, what exactly do snakes do when they're startled or upset, besides perhaps bite? I mean, I know the life-threatening concern is really being constricted, but what exactly do they do? Wrap themselves around your chest and constrict you like they would their prey? What's the best thing to do if something happens? I've been told that if a snake constricts you, you're supposed to unwrap it starting with it's tail. Is that true?

Oh, and I suppose I should add that I've had my dad around every time I've had Jori out since I got him. I was a bit nervous and I wanted someone around anyway since I'd never owned a large snake before. Now that I've gotten used to Jori's size, and he's soiled his cage and for the first time my dad isn't available to be around so I can take him out to clean the cage, I realized that it's high time I asked about this.
 
Old 03-21-2006, 11:09 PM   #2
Mike Greathouse
Sarah,
I think the answer to your question would vary from person to person.
The first thing that comes to mind for me is this: Don't handle an animal alone that you don't feel entirely comfortable with.

I've worked with boas for many years and I can't think of one instance where I have been coiled. I've been bitten plenty of times, but it has always been bite and release. Most bites are caused by the keeper startling the boa or SFM (Stupid Feeding Mistakes).

I hope this helps.
 
Old 03-21-2006, 11:46 PM   #3
Laura Fopiano
Mike is right..........and was hit by one of my biggest girls 2 years ago, hurt like heck, but it was also my fault. One of those SFE's (stupid feeding error's)

Generally a good rule to follow is to have a person with in shouting distance when handling a tame animal 6 feet and over during feeding and cleaning. And two in the room with more aggressive animals during feeding and cleaning. I also use hooks and other tools, yeah I'm a wuss and hate being bit no matter how small the boa is LOL
 
Old 03-22-2006, 12:14 AM   #4
ericfire
Talking

well bud i would hate to be totally unconcerned with being wrapped by a redtail
but generally i have seen pretty small guys man handle some pretty large boas when it comes to them tightening up on ya .
but what they said was true ,it all about how comfortable you are with your snake
if you're new to snakes they can be pretty scarey when big
if he hasn't shown any aggression in the first months to a year i think you should be safe .once again its always a good idea if they are over 8 to 10 feet to have someone capable on hand and close by in case you get introuble .
sorry for rambling
i have just never heard of a redtail taking someone out
Eric
 
Old 03-22-2006, 01:32 AM   #5
markface
i used to keep columbians and was only bitten a very few times . without fail the times i was bitten was my falt . either feeding mistakes or in once case cleaning out rat cages and not washing before going into boa's cage . i felt comfortable handling my snakes regardless of the size , but i always made sure there was someone in yelling distance once they got to 8 ft or more . not that i felt endangered , just a firm believer in better safe then sorry .
 
Old 03-22-2006, 01:34 AM   #6
markface
sorry for the double post .

any size snake can be dangerous in the hands of someone who is uninformed or unprepared .
 
Old 03-22-2006, 01:56 PM   #7
silversg
Thanks a lot for the advice, guys.

Since I've had Jori for a few months now, I now feel comfortable with his size. While I think it's unlikely that he'd ever constrict me (he's such a placid guy), I have no doubt that he'd bite me if I made any SFEs. He really loves rats. LOL.

I found a couple good links on this subject:

AFH Guidelines For The Keeping Of Large Constrictors, by American Federation of Herpetoculturists - says, When handling any of the giant snakes (Green anaconda, Indian and Burmese python, African rock python, reticulated python and amethystine python) over 8 feet, the AFH recommends that another individual be present or at the very least within calling reach.

Handling Large Constrictors, by Lenny Flank, says, The common Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor) has never been demonstrated to have ever killed a human being, but it can reach adult lengths near ten feet and can sometimes be difficult and unsafe to handle. For purposes of this discussion, then, any constricting snake that reaches an adult size of eight feet or more should be considered potentially dangerous. (Can anyone comment on the reliability of Mr. Flank [I don't know him, nor do I believe I have ever heard of him, though his name sounds familiar] or provide another source which says that boa constrictors have "never been demonstrated to have ever killed a human being"?
 
Old 03-22-2006, 02:05 PM   #8
Griz
This is the exact reason why I, and several others, are breeding the morphs/localities in with the dwarf gene. I have a 9 foot male that is pushing 35 lbs now. I have no doubt that I can handle him if things turn bad but I am also 6'6" and 250lbs. I have a good friend that is 5'10" and his 15 foot burmese tried to take him down a few months back. He was able to free himself from a full body coil, but he also knew what to do and was prepared. I am actually looking to get rid of my 9 footer, not because he scares me but rather due to having small children. I do not plan on keeping anything over 6 foot here very soon.

Griz
 

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