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Pet Snakes provides easy to understand, practical information and facts to help the new snake owner take care of their animals. At Pet Snakes we want to provide information that will help you enjoy your reptile more than ever.

Pet Snakes answers your emails (week 3)

In this third installment of our weekly series dedicated to answering readers emails we will tackle the following topics:
Pet Snakes answers emails

  • Convincing parents to let you have a snake
  • Tied up in knots
  • Handling a snake while shedding
  • Required licenses to own snakes

Hello, I am 13, and I really want a snake. My dad says no because he doesn’t like the idea of keeping a “wild animal” trapped in an aquarium. Is there anyway I can counter this?

Answer: The challenge of convincing a parent, or other family member to agree to a snake is not a new one. I dare say most of us have experienced it at one point or another. But the question I have is this; does your dad have a problem with keeping snakes in cages, or does he have a problem with snakes in general? Because each one requires a different way of dealing with it. If he really is concerned about keeping a wild animal in an aquarium then your best course of action is to educate him. Which means you’ll need to learn as much as possible about the species of snake you’re trying to get. Not only learning, but being able to teach your father what you’ve learned. For example if you were looking to buy a Ball Python you could explain:

  • They are very docile, and rarely bite
  • They spend the majority of their time in termite mounds hardly moving at all
  • They stay relatively small

Conversely if your father has a fear of snakes the problem is a little more complicated. That requires his full cooperation and a personal decision on his part to work towards overcoming the phobia. In short, we can’t give medical advise but can refer you to this article about overcoming your fear of snakes. Good luck and hope you are able to get a snake.

A recent encounter with a rubber snake has started a debate in my work place. We are debating whether snakes ever tie themselves into knots. Do they ever do this? Can they undo this if it happens to them? Tried to search for it on the internet and get mostly instructions on tying a snake knot. Please help. Thanks.

Answer: Consider the physiology of snakes. Like all vertebrate animals they have a spine. They also have hundreds of ribs. We also know that a knot needs to be cinched down either on itself or another object in order to make it effective. For a snake to tie itself in a knot it would need to break its own spine and ribs in multiple places. So the answer to your question is, no healthy normal snakes can not tie themselves into knots. An unhealthy snake that is having a seizure or other neurological event might manage it, but I’ve never seen it.

Can I pick up my snake while it is shedding?

Answer: Once the eyes get cloudy stop handling the snake. It’s usually only a few more days before the shed has completed. There is evidence that shedding is at best uncomfortable and at worst painful for a snake. The less you handle and traumatize them the better. There’s also the fact that they are effectively blind sight wise for a while and are more easily startled which may lead to more bites.

Email: I don’t know what licence (sic) I need to buy a snake here? Can you help me?

Answer: Would love to help you out, but have no idea where you live so can’t really help you out with the licensing laws. If you’re in the United States a great way to fin the laws is either look in our growing database relating to snakes in various states or use your favorite online search engine and type wildlife state_name to get the information about the natural resource department in your area. Then call or email them and ask directly. We’ve had great success using this method in the past. It also helps to ensure that you have the most current information.

Having said all that if a snake is being offered at a legitimate pet store then they should be willing and able to explain the laws and any permit requirements for keeping that kind of a snake.

If you have any questions feel free to send them to us

  • Turns out they can, and intentially do – tie themselves into knots, in certain conditions?

  • Sure. Even when not in a weightless environment they will sometimes form themselves into a knot, but a knot isn't a full blown knot in my mind unless it is cinched down. In order to do that they'd have to break their own bones, including their spines.

  • ramongonzalez

    my snake has been doing that for the past 3 days and I'm getting very worried. One time it took me 5 min. to untie him and it was a pretty bad knot. Is this normal behavior or should I take him to the vet.

  • Katyseyffer

    Hello I just got a new snake, he is a ball python about a year old. I am at college right now in Florida so the humidity and everything is good. But I love to take him out and sit outside in the warmth. A lot of people smoke cigarettes and I was 1 wondering if that is bad for him to be around??

    Also I hold him a lot, he never seems to mind it and he will fall asleep and just hold on to me. He will get comfortable and let me rub him and he seems content and yawns (really cute). Of course I got a new snake and everyone wants to hold him. I feel he gets really stressed and just wants to stay with me, where I hold still and he can rub on my bracelet. Is it okay that I am holding him so much? Is it okay that other people are always holding him. I love him a lot so I want to do what is best for him!

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