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Hi all,

We have an amel corn snake that we've had for just over a year. We've handled her pretty much every day, except after feeding or while shedding, and maybe the odd day or two break. (Note we call her "her" but we have not sexed her).

We've fed her in a separate box for most of this time (helps us to weigh her too!) but she's outgrown it now (she'll fit, but she's so fast she can escape in the blink of an eye) so now we feed her in the viv.

Recently, she's had a big change in temperament- she "runs away" when we try to pick her up. She started to really squeeze hard once we pick her up, which was noticeable. Then one day, I picked her up and she hissed and defecated once I had her in my hand- clearly a response to a predator (me, I guess).

Since that time she runs away if we try to pick her up. We've tried a hook but she's too fast!

I don't really want to chase her around the viv - that seems like it would be quite stressful for her (let alone me). The furniture often gets in the way so there is one corner I can't get to her in (unless I take some of it out).

But I also don't want to wake her up by picking her up...

So now I have snake that I can't pick up unless I chase her, but probably doesn't want to be picked up because she's getting unused to it.

The only thing I can think of is that the hot end might be too hot. It registers at 100F/37C but she doesn't seem to mind too much, she often basks there. I think I might add another vent to drop it to 90F/32C but of course I need to get her out first!
 

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Hi all,

We have an amel corn snake that we've had for just over a year. We've handled her pretty much every day, except after feeding or while shedding, and maybe the odd day or two break. (Note we call her "her" but we have not sexed her).

We've fed her in a separate box for most of this time (helps us to weigh her too!) but she's outgrown it now (she'll fit, but she's so fast she can escape in the blink of an eye) so now we feed her in the viv.

Recently, she's had a big change in temperament- she "runs away" when we try to pick her up. She started to really squeeze hard once we pick her up, which was noticeable. Then one day, I picked her up and she hissed and defecated once I had her in my hand- clearly a response to a predator (me, I guess).

Since that time she runs away if we try to pick her up. We've tried a hook but she's too fast!

I don't really want to chase her around the viv - that seems like it would be quite stressful for her (let alone me). The furniture often gets in the way so there is one corner I can't get to her in (unless I take some of it out).

But I also don't want to wake her up by picking her up...

So now I have snake that I can't pick up unless I chase her, but probably doesn't want to be picked up because she's getting unused to it.

The only thing I can think of is that the hot end might be too hot. It registers at 100F/37C but she doesn't seem to mind too much, she often basks there. I think I might add another vent to drop it to 90F/32C but of course I need to get her out first!
Your basking spot is indeed too hot- MILES too hot. It only needs to be 80-82f at the basking spot. Don't you have a thermostat to control it? Also, don't handle him/her so much- once or twice a week is enough.
 

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Get your hot end temps down asap if that's the ambient air temp. How are you measuring that? If needed turn the heat off and don't feed her until you have it sorted. Room temp (if you're in the UK) right now will be fine until you can control the heat source better.

Tell us about your set up and we can help. Chances are she's just too hot and bothered to be having you grabbing at her. If she doesn't want to be held, don't hold her. Snakes don't need to be taken out and played with everyday. As wilks says, a couple of times a week is enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks both.

I've turned off the heat lamp, the heat gauge is now settled on 80F/26C. My set up is as follows:

86x49x49 viv. On hot side I have a heat mat under the substrate (I use beech chips). The heat mat is attached to a thermostat (set to 75F), the probe sits just on top of the substrate as per the instructions that came with the thermostat. The hot side has a heating bulb fitted at the top of the viv, positioned halfway from the back wall and the front in a metal cage. It's on a daily timer 8am/8pm.

The analogue heat gauge is on the hot side about 5cm from the floor, and on the back wall, more or less in line with the lamp. Currently my snake is directly under the gauge, in fact.

It used to settle at 90F/30C but I would turn it off completely in summer. I have a new bulb (same make and specs though) and this seems to be running hotter. Interestingly, though, she has been hanging out under the lamp way more than she used to, which is odd as she's both hotter AND more exposed.

On the hot side she has a hide that is a long cork bark tube - half of it rests on the heat mat, the other half off it. On the cold side she has her water and a hollowed-out tree trunk ornament which she hides in (she coils herself up it with her tail hanging out the bottom, it's quite adorable).

But she also has a big tree branch she hides under in the cold side, and a fern-like ornament in the centre, which she used to climb in but now she's too heavy!

I'll pop to the local reptile shop tomorrow; I plan on getting a thermostat and another (digital) thermometer. One question, if I put the lamp on a thermostat, will she need another light source (other than the light in the room)?
 

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