Tap Training a Snake

Do you have a snake? Are you looking to purchase one soon? If this is the case, you need to be sure you are ready for the responsibility. Like any other pet, you must be aware of what you will need and what you need to do to make the experience enjoyable for the both of you. From discovering the right food for snakes feeding to handling to breeding snakes, every owner must be aware of the potential problems and any issues.

Long before you consider something as challenging as breeding snakes, you need to concern yourself with the basics. One technique you need to learn is tap training.

Tap Training

To help your snake distinguish between feeding and “cuddling” times, you need to train him or her. The best method is tap training. This technique is helpful in establishing a working relationship with even the most difficult of snakes.

Tap training is simple. You tap the side of the snake’s aquarium with your hand. Do not bang hard and startle your snake. Tap the sides of the aquarium or cage gently. This ensures two things:

  • The snake is awake and will not be startled when you reach into its home with your hand.

  • The snake understands you are not prey or a predator. Your hand is not coming to feed them, but to handle them.

Once you have established this, proceed to place your hand in the cage. It is now okay to touch the snake’s body. Do not touch or grab his or hers head.

The more you practice tap training, the more the snake will associate the gentle tapping of their glass with other than feeding. This facilitates the handling of your snake. It also makes its substantially easier for you to reach in and set about cleaning the aquarium.

A variation of tap training is hook training. Instead of tapping the side of the aquarium, you ever so gently tap the nose of the snake. For this, you use a snake hook. By tapping the nose, you are reassuring the snake this is not feeding time and your hands and fingers are not food. This allows you to handle the snake or go about cleaning out the living quarters. Running the hook gently along side the body teaches it to associate this touch with being handled.

Caution: Whether you tap or hook your snake, DO NOT do so when he or she is entering into a shedding period or has just finished eating.