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Re: Retic Room and Ambush Behavior

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Posted by BrianSmith on April 18, 2003 at 21:44:34:

In Reply to: Re: Retic Room and Ambush Behavior posted by tango on April 18, 2003 at 08:30:16:

Yes, I agree. But there are some pretty crazy exceptions to every rule. I can see where one may think that walking into a snake room cautiously may be as safe as opening a cage, but one incident from the mid 80's comes to my mind. It wasn't a "python room" but I had a long male retic in the bathroom to soak his skin. He had had a shed retention and I didn't have a plastic tub large enough for him to fully submerge in at that time. Now, he was about 17 feet, but very thin proportionately speaking. Maybe as big around as a man's calf muscle. So it was often decieving to know where he began and where he ended. Well, that night I went to check on him and I took my buddy to look at him with me. As this male was highly aggressive my buddy stood several steps back as I cracked the door open slowly. I peered into the bathroom and saw his long skinny body draped out of the tub and across the floor. So I opened the door a little wider so as to stick my head inside to look for where his head was. About that time my friend yelled out, "Look out!!!" I barely caught a flash of movement above my head and ducked backward and down as the male's strike went by where my head had just been. I felt the wind from the strike. Here's what had happened,... What I didn't know but found out shortly afterward was this; after his body laid across the bathroom floor it went up on the sink and counter, then over to the corner of the room by the door, and across the top of the door jam. So when I opened the door he simply dropped down a bit, bunched up his neck and struck at me. I didn't see him because I wasn't expecting anything like that first of all, and secondly I figured maybe 5 or 6 feet of him was outside of the tub at best (hence the deception of his consistantly thin frame). My friend that was behind me was also looking down inside the bathroom and didn't see him until the last second either. This was one of my closer calls throughout the years and it only goes to show that we can never predict the things that can happen with a loose snake.

:You have provided a reaosnable explanation. That snakes are predatory and may display this behavior is common knowledge. And yes, I think it does get a little hyped up and distorted. Too many people throwing in their two cents worth are merely repeating what they have heard or read. Any information can become distorted that way. Not too long ago, I also agreed that this behavior could present a problem to a keeper but as I have thought about it in relationship to my own manner of keeping, I can't say I have witnessed anything remotely similar. Am I at a greater disadvantage walking into a room than opening up a cage door? The more I think about it, the more I disagree. But, as with everything, it depends on the keeper. Reading your retic, being aware of her presence, keeping her healthy and satisfied are all a part of opening the door and walking in. I agree that walking in is dangerous but I don't agree that for every keeper it will present the same degree of danger- even a caged retic is more dangerous for some keepers than for others.
::I think that this terminology in connection with the large room subject got a little distorted. The retics, as well as other snakes, always have the ambush instinct, I feel, regardless of the size of their environment. I think what was alluded to was that in whole room, walk in enclosures that it puts us into that same ambush environment. Like if we stuck our faces into a hungry retics cage. They may sometimes strike before smelling. I don't think a larger cage promotes more of this instinct. Just puts us more at risk.

:::I'd like to hear from those who have actually witnessed the ambush from a captive born retic who has been given a room to live in. I know that this seems to be a conscensus and I have repeated it myself but my curiousity is getting the better of me. My captive born snakes free roam unnsupervised in the snake room as a break from their cages. I've often left them out 24 - 48 hours at a time. One female retic has been out for a week a few times when she was rubbing her face raw in a previous cage. I currently have a male Burmese out until he receives a new cage. I have male and female retics and male and female Burms and I've never witnessed anything I can call predatory from my well-fed, well-acclimated, highly tractable snakes. I always let them out of their cage when I clean it- switching territories altogether since I am in the cage to clean it and they are in the "human" room. So I would like to hear about the real life ambushes- not because I don't agree with the predatory nature of my snakes - I just haven't seen the ambush I hear others speaking of. Also how large can a cage be before it promotes this ambush behavior? Thanks in advance,



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