Hi guys, Welcome back to Animal Wonders.
We’re in the reptile room right now and we’re going to check in with one of
our lesser known animals, Freya, the Northern Pine Snake. The reason that she’s lesser known is because
Freya is actually quite aggressive, and I don’t handle her or bring her out
as much as I do other animals. We got Freya as an adult, and
she was dropped off at a local shelter and they didn’t know what she was.
So they called us up and said “Hey! We have this snake. Can you please take it?” It was pretty obvious from the
moment that I met her that she hadn’t been handled very much,
so she’s a challenge to work with. It is good to keep trying to interact with her because
it will help stimulate her mind and body. So today I wanted to take her out and show you how I manage working with an aggressive snake The first thing I grab is my tool– and, I know
it’s a spatula. A lot of snake handlers will use a snake hook, but I just feel
more comfortable with a spatula. They’re easily replaceable, and…
I’ll show you how it works She’s quite active, she sees all the commotion…
I’m going to slip my spatula in and you can see that I’m going to use the
flat side of the spatula to block her head… So that I can reach in back here and grab her before she notices my hand, and get her body all the way out here. Supporting every third of her body … Alright, there we go! So now that I have her in my hands, I just want to make sure that I’m not moving around
too much– I want her to feel really calm and comfortable. A lot of times aggressive snakes will
be aggressive inside their enclosure, but once you get them out they will calm down
and they won’t be as aggressive. But Freya has bitten me several times
while I’ve been holding her, so I always want to make sure that
I am not instigating a reaction by moving around too much. So I just hold her
very, very still and steady Well this is going really well so far, she doesn’t seem very stressed out. She’s tongue flicking but not rapidly,
so she’s not really seeking out food. And she’s not jerking… she’s just slowly exploring her new situation.
Another thing that she’s done while I’ve held her is that she musked on me.
And that’s when they open their cloaca and they secrete a really stinky, foul liquid. And that’s a defense mechanism that they would do
if they were feeling threatened. She did that one of the first times I held her. Probably because it was a new experience
and she hadn’t really been handled before She hasn’t musked since. I’m just really– I’m really impressed
with how well she’s doing A lot of the time people see me holding an animal
and they look really calm, and they assume that it’s easy to handle these animals, when in fact,
all of my senses are on high alert because I’m very focused on everything that she’s doing,
because I know she’s an aggressive animal and I want to make sure I stay calm
so that she stays comfortable. When an animal becomes more comfortable with me,
then I can kind of relax and move around a little bit more naturally, but right now… I’m just going to stay as still as I can. Right now,
Freya does not do public presentations, we’re still getting her comfortable being handled
and being out in the public with a lot of external stimuli would probably overwhelm her,
and she’d become defensive. And she’d either musk or strike and we’re making
such good progress that I just want this to be her experience being handled right now Freya is doing so good right now that
I’m going to attempt to move my hands and just manipulate her head a little bit,
like I might do in a show to show off her face. Did you see how I just slowly moved my arm
so that her chin rested on a new surface of my hand?
Very non-threatening. And you can see that she’s now moving to readjust, and find a
new, comfortable position to relax in. Alright, Freya did so good.
I’m going to go ahead and end this session now and let her go on back home…
just very gently move my hand … move her body off my hand… annnnnd we’re out.
Ah! Success! That went so well! I’m so glad that she was so calm,
and I didn’t get bit. I did warn Matt that we might have some drama
on screen today, but I’m glad it was drama-free, and my arms are intact
and it was just ahhhhh… I’m just so happy that that went so well Thank you for going on this adventure with me
and if you would like to go on an adventure with us every week, subscribe to our
YouTube Channel, Animal Wonders Montana Thanks and we’ll see you next week!