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Posted by oldherper on May 01, 2003 at 07:39:39:
In Reply to: Squirming worth hatchling?? posted by kenjivalentine on May 01, 2003 at 03:18:41:
:Okay, I want to buy a hatchling black milk and knob king, but I have heard many stories on how they squirm A TON, to the point of being unhandleable for about a year. Would you guys advise just buying a yearling to avoid the hassle?
I would advise against handling ANY hatchling more than is necessary to clean it's enclosure, move it to a feeding container and back to it's enclosure, and perform "health checks". Snakes are naturally more defensive and "squirmy" when they are hatchlings and for good reason. That is when they are most vulnerable to predation and the "squirminess" is a natural reaction to try to escape a predator. That is also why hatchlings tend to spend nearly 100% of their time in hiding. So, it logically follows that if you are handling a hatchling and it is squirming a lot, then it thinks it's been caught by a predator...that equates to undue stress. If you simply go about the business of taking care of the animal without handling it more than necessary, it will soon enough become accustomed to your presence somewhat and stop associating you with danger so much. Then the squirming will become less and less of an issue. Hatchlings of most milksnakes and mountain kings are fragile and are easily injured by over-handling.
If this is to be a pet animal and you simply must handle it frequently, then I would suggest NOT buying a hatchling. As a matter of fact, I would steer you more to the boas or adult non-fossorial colubrids....or maybe a puppy?