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Topic: Snakes and other animals in the same show?
Message: Posted by: Ryan Price (Feb 23, 2010 05:04PM)
Hi All,

I have been contemplating getting one or two snakes for some time. They (ball pythons) will probably be purchased at the end of the year at a local breeder expo, so I still have a long time to do even more research.

My question is in reference to handling the snake(s) after you have handled other animals they may consider food (rabbit, doves, etc.). Obviously, at home, you can take the needed time to wash properly and possibly wait a few hours in between handing other animals and, then, the snake. What precautions could/should be taken during a show? The snakes would obviously not be starved, but if it's near feeding day, wouldn't they be more likely to strike if they smell rabbit on you?
Message: Posted by: Michael Trixx (Feb 24, 2010 04:12PM)
Ball pythons are pretty docile snakes and finicky eaters. Sometimes they will just stop eating for like a year and need to be force fed to get them eating again. I used to use red tail boas in my show. Snakes don't travel very well. They get stressed easily, and be cautious of the climate changes if you plan on traveling with them. But, I don't think you'll have to worry about getting bit by a Ball.
Message: Posted by: Chezaday (Feb 27, 2010 10:16AM)
Snakes are a big commitment ... and you have to be very careful, depending on the breed of snake you choose. The Ball Python is a small, docile snake and does make good pets with proper care. They are reptiles, though, and it does get pretty cold up in Canada. Because of my concern for the snakes' health, I no longer use them during the winter months ... it's just not worth it.

Back to the original question, yes, the snakes will pick up on the scent of other animals. If you were using a Boa or a "real" Python ... it could really be a problem. The Ball Python is relatively harmless. As Michael said above, I've heard many times that feeding is very difficult.

Do your research before you purchase a snake ... it's not that simple.

Message: Posted by: Ryan Price (Feb 27, 2010 11:17AM)

I have been doing the research for a fair bit of time, as I have had reptiles in the past and always wanted a snake. I do understand the concerns with the cold weather. I originally thought this would be a major deterrent, but I have found ways around this. Of course, it will take more effort and money keeping them warm if/when they are used in the winter.

As you guys have mentioned, the ball python is a docile snake and doesn't grow that large. This is perfect for my situation. The question came up as I do work with other animals in the show. The last thing I want is to increase the likelihood of being bitten. One of my shows is about care for animals, etc. I don't want to put a scare of the animal into children (my main audience), and this would happen if it strikes during the show. Not a big deal for me, as I have been bitten before, but the shock is what I want to prevent.

One option is, of course, not to use the bunny in the same shows as the snake. In some situations, I would like to use both, though. Most of the time, I could stick with the birds and the snake if it is a problem.
Message: Posted by: Don (Feb 27, 2010 01:04PM)
Yes, the probability of the snake striking at you is high because of the scent of rabbit and doves on you. Most snakes don't see well and use smell as a substitute for sight.

Message: Posted by: Alexo (Feb 27, 2010 02:33PM)
I've used Doves and a Ball Python in the same show and never have been bitten. It seems my snake doesn't recognize birds as food, so the smell of them doesn't do anything for her. The scent of a mouse or gerbil drives her crazy, though. Rats, she doesn't particularly seem to care about, but I haven't tried rabbit.
Message: Posted by: Ryan Price (Feb 27, 2010 04:53PM)
I guess it will have to be something that I work out in rehearsal. First do it without handling any animals prior, then after the birds, and finally after the rabbit. The other animals would be at the beginning, and the snake would be near the end, as snakes don't mind hanging out in the load compartments as much as other animals do. I assume there wouldn't be a problem with birds, as I have heard of a few guys that do doves to snake.

One other question is in reference to the sex of the snake. Does anyone have any preference in what sex they use?
Message: Posted by: Alexo (Feb 27, 2010 05:41PM)
Mine just happens to be a girl, but it would be my preference since the females get significantly larger.
Message: Posted by: Bob Johnston (Mar 7, 2010 01:03PM)
On 2010-02-27 14:04, Don wrote:
Yes, the probability of the snake striking at you is high because of the scent of rabbit and doves on you. Most snakes don't see well and use smell as a substitute for sight.

Where does your "probability" come from?
There is next to none of a chance that a Ball would strike at an adult unless the snake is very, very hungry. The snake's Jacobson's organ may identify the rabbit as something he or she COULD eat, but that is only one factor in whether or not it will strike.

ALL snakes do not see well, AND scent is not a substitute for sight; it works with their limited sight.

There is no reason that the Ball can not be in the same show with rabbits, but I would not have them in the same area at the same time. There is no need to go and wash your hands when handling your rabbit and going to your snake production.

Message: Posted by: Ryan Price (Mar 7, 2010 04:58PM)
Thanks, Bob, for your insight.

It is something that won't be in place for at least a few months, or even a year, so I will have some time. Of course, I'm not going to let the snake play with the bunny or be anywhere near it.

Using both in the same show is something I will work on when I get the snake. The final determination will be made after extensive rehearsal. It is reassuring to hear that at least some people believe it possible.
Message: Posted by: GRMAGIC (Mar 8, 2010 02:09AM)
I have used Large pythons in my show for over 20 years. There is always a chance that any animal, reptile, can bite. Check with your insurance company before adding them to your show because I use snakes and other types of animals besides doves and rabbits, and all of the magic societies that offer insurance for performers have turned me down and the insurance I am forced to buy is costly because of the unordinary animals, reptiles, I use.
Message: Posted by: Chad C. (Apr 1, 2010 09:20PM)
I use balls in my shows (have done so for several years). They have never bitten me nor given me any trouble when I let folks pet them afterwards (with the head held near me and they pet the tail end). I used doves and the balls for several years together in the same show and never had an issue.

For piece of mind, you can structure your show where you produce the snakes first, then the rabbit later in the show. That way you don't have to worry about the snake possibly sensing the smell at all on your hands. Before the show, after you load all the animals, just wash your hands with some sanitizer and you are good to go.

Now, with cornsnakes that's a different story! They might smell that rabbit and try to bite your hand! I love my corns as well and consider them "real" snakes - they are inquisitive and like to explore while you hold them, they seem to be able to see better than the balls and will watch you - and they have really cool patterns - but the balls are much thicker which is impressive to the audience.

If you have any other questions, feel free to pm me as I don't come into this section as often as I used to!

Message: Posted by: Ryan Price (Apr 1, 2010 10:25PM)
Thanks so much guys for the information. I will definitely be getting different insurance. I am currently insured through a clown alley and I have never been able to see the actual insurance policy so I am not sure if I am even properly covered for the current animals.

The snake would be the last animal produced in the show as they don't mind the load compartments as much as the other animals do. The vast majority of the time wouldn't find the rabbit and snake in the same show. It would usually be the doves and/or parrot in the show with the snake.

I could probably load the rabbit while behind the backdrop after the snake is produced if all the animals are used in the show.

Again it will probably come down to trial and error and its still at least 6 months away.

thanks again, Chad I may be sending a few pm's your way in the future.