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How Not To Feed A Jungle Carpet Python

Updated on November 4, 2013

Jungle Pythons, George and Lizzie

Right off the bat, I am going to admit that what happened this day was foolhardy and irresponsible. Any experienced snake owner will surely shake their head, and I don't blame them. This is a story of laziness gone bad, and if nothing else, it will serve to remind those who think their idea of getting something done quicker and easier is something to think twice about.

George and Lizzie are 5' Jungle Carpet Pythons. They are both quite docile, and spend a fair amount of time getting hands-on attention. Though they have very similar markings of black, with bright yellow banding, it is the slight variations of these markings, along with personality that makes them easy to tell apart.

These beauties have the luxury of spending their days in a 8' by 5' enclosure, complete with branches and humidity fit for any spoiled python snake. They have graduated from pinkie mice, to adult rats . . . and they love their food.

Feeding Time For The Pythons

It had been a week since the last meal, and George and Lizzie are ready for dining.

My husband had a lot to do this day, and I had agreed to take care of feeding our eight snakes myself. With the Rosy Boas done eating, as well as the Red-Tailed Boas, I had only the Pythons left to feed.

We had large Rubbermaid containers fitted with lids punctured with holes to put the snake in along with their live mice, or rat, depending on their own size. One of each pair would eat in the enclosure, with the other enjoying their meal in the container. They were used to this routine, and became excited upon seeing the set up unfold.

I needed to clean one of the large rubber containers in order to place George inside to feed. I was looking at the container, with it's unmentionable mess inside, and realizing I would have to clean it yet again once George was done eating, I began feeling a bit weary of the whole process, just wanted to get the job done and move on with my day.

I looked from the container to the two in the enclosure, and back again. George was lounging on the upper level, and Lizzie was way down in the lowest area watching me intently. Hmmm. Why not save the extra clean up and feed them both in their enclosure? I have to clean it anyhow - why do it and the rubber one too? It was a fine idea.

Now, I know it isn't a good idea to feed two hungry snakes in the same area, as there is a chance they will latch on to the same rat and attempt to eat it; but . . . they were in totally different areas, so it really was just as though they were in separate containers, right?  Well . . .

A Good Plan Gone Bad

The plan was to feed Lizzie first since she was active and watching me bring in the rats. I had planned on tossing in her food, and then promptly tossing the other up top for George to feast on. I had thought this through, and was almost eager to tell Russ of my ingenious idea of saving time for future feedings. He would be so pleased.

I picked up the chubby rat by the tail (sorry to those of you who are queasy, but you've probably quit reading by now anyhow), and opened the door just enough to get it tossed in. Now, the rest is a bit of a blur, because it all happened so quickly, so I'll have to describe it the best that I can.

Lizzie snatched that rat and wrapped it in textbook style, and . . . George, moving so fast, I couldn't react fast enough, managed to swoop down the hole to the lower level, latched on to Lizzie's head, and wrapped his whole 5+ feet of lithe body around her! I had a huge tangled mass of Jungle Python feeding responses, and it was bad bad bad!

I think I was jumping around, then pulling their meshed bodies out of the enclosure, while yelling for my husband. RUSSSS! He, having heard the commotion, was already on his way out of his office. I didn't pause to see the look on his face, and to this day, I'm sure I am glad that I didn't. I was trying to spit out words that described what had happened as he joined me in trying to quickly decide what to do.

There was no way that Lizzie was going to release her rat, and I didn't really care; I just wanted George to let loose of her head. His teeth were sunk in to the top and bottom of her head and I could see tiny beads of blood along their path. Both bodies were so tightly gripping each other that is was almost impossible to even get a finger wedged between them, their incredible muscles tightening further with each movement of the other. As we moved and shuffled around, I stepped on a glass door that opened out to lay upon the floor, and it quickly shattered to bits on the carpeting. Russ began thumping on George's head, and it took many quite hard thumps before he reluctantly released his bite on poor Lizzie. Russ handed me George's head to hold on to at the base of his neck, while he went to work unwrapping them.

It was done, they were free! Russ set Lizzie in the still unclean Rubbermaid container, as I lay an agitated George back in the enclosure. To this day, I honestly couldn't tell you how long this whole nightmare took to resolve. It could have been 2 minutes, or twenty minutes; it is still a big, ugly blur! With a red face, Russ looked at me and said, "Just curious . . . how did that happen?" "I had a great idea . . . " I started to explain, then bending to start to pick up the shards of glass on the carpet, I decided it best to explain the not-so-great idea a bit later.

Lizzie was fine, and after she had finished her well-deserved meal, and had a chance to start the slow digesting process, we examined her minor wounds, and treated them with an antibiotic cleanser. George received his rat, and did his thing without any qualms. It seemed they had fared the ordeal a whole lot better than we had.

I didn't mind the routine of cleaning the rubber containers and rotating snakes anymore. There are reasons why some things shouldn't be messed with. Natural instincts don't care about lazy owners who want the easy way out. My super idea did turn into a good laugh later, but, I have to say that it was much, much later.

I should tell you how George once got stuck in the handle of a large BBQ sauce bottle . . .well, maybe another time.


Jungle Carpet Pythons

The natural location for these Pythons is Queensland, Australia. Their average lifespan is 20-30 years, and they grow up to 7'. These have become somewhat popular pets, as they don't grow to an unmanageable size, and their colors are so striking.

They can be a bit feisty, so it is best to handle them frequently when young so they will become accustomed to your smell and movements. Not necessarily a great snake for beginners, but overall, they are pretty easy to care for. Education is the key to success! (and, don't be lazy with their needs)


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