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Jessi talks about her experiences with snake bites and the lessons she learned from the incidents.

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Hey guys! We're here to talk about snake bites. Someone asked me a question about if I'd ever been bitten by a snake, and I wanted to share with you when I was bitten and why I was bitten. 

This is Domino, our corn snake, and she was rescued when she was really little. Itty bitty teeny tiny little baby snake.

She had a bacterial infection in her vertebrae, she had to be medicated pretty intensely right on the side of her spine there into her muscles, which meant I needed to handle her a lot. But a side effect of the antibiotic that I gave her was decreased appetite, which meant that I ended up having to hand feed her. 

So it really wasn't surprising that since she associated my fingers with being fed, she was going to strike me at some point, and I was just careless for a moment after I'd been handling some rats, I reached into her enclosure and she bit me. She really quickly realized it was not a rat and she let go, so I was pretty lucky but that was my mistake. 

So Domino is pretty small and it was a couple of years ago when she did bite me. So when she bit me, the mouth and the teeth weren't really the issue I mean she did puncture the skin but it was the impact that actually hurt the most. She left a little bruise. Tiny little bruise on my finger. 

So feeling that impact, even from a tiny little snake, I can really really understand how intense it would be to be struck by a very large snake, say anaconda or Burmese python. The impact alone is really going to stun whatever prey they are going after. 

So the mistake I made with Domino -- hand smelling like rats and reaching into her enclosure -- is a really common mistake by pet owners so that was one that you need to watch out for. Make sure your hands don't smell like mice and rats. 

The second bite was by Carlos the Sinaloan milk snake, and I was doing a show with him. We'd only had him for about six months so I was still in the process of getting to know him as an individual, and things were going along fine, we were doing great, and he turned his head in and bit me. I mean there was no striking involved, it was just a "Oh! Let me bite you on your knuckle." 

I actually didn't realize it happened at first until I'm like well it kinda stings, just little bit, that's... that's a weird feeling. And I looked down and I was actually bleeding in front of an audience of seven-year-olds. 

So the first thought that went through my mind was  "don't scare the kids". I don't want them to see me bleeding because there's already a kind of stigma against snakes and I didn't want that to perpetuate that fear. So... I played it off. It really didn't hurt that bad, but it was the blood. 

So I nonchalantly wrapped up my talk with him, and I went and put him back and wrapped a little piece of toilet paper... not toilet paper, paper towel! Around my finger and went on with the show. The kids didn't even notice. 

So as an animal behaviorist and someone that needs to continue working with these animals I needed to figure out why he would bite me. 

So what I realized with Carlos is his personality -- he doesn't like me really manipulating him much, he doesn't like me moving him around. I kinda let him do whatever he wants to.

So right now he's holding pretty tight to my hand and sometimes he likes to just go and I have to support his body. 

So he was communicating to me "Quit messing with me so much! Just let me do my thing!" And I haven't been bitten by him since. I just let him do his thing. Which was fine! 

So lesson here is really get to know your animal and realize that if they do bite you or injure you somehow, you've made a mistake, figure out what mistake you've made and make the change for the better.

So, there's my two stories of my snake bites. No drama here, sorry, but now you do know my secrets.