Progress on socialization?

My carpet python has horrible trust issues. He’s super nervous, always has been and nothing i do seems to sway him. I used to handle him like normal and just hope that with decent handling and good husbandry he would chill out. And he has… I guess. He doesn’t act like a rapid fire revolver anymore. But he still flinches and startles into defense at every other move i (or anything unfamiliar for that matter) makes. And i understand that he’s young and a carpet. But he’s certainly no hatchling anymore, he’s two years old and fast approaching three. Yet he still has a long way to go.

For the past couple of weeks i have been doing a ‘hands off’ approach. He would freak out like normal when I opened the enclosure. And when i put my arm in he would pace the enclosure and eventually tentatively attempt to sniff me. The last week he’s learned he can just go into his hide to get me to leave him alone. And that’s what he’s been doing consistently since.

Earlier today i went in and did my sit-down in front of his enclosure like normal and just opened the door. I sat farther away from him and kept my arms to myself. But I started to loose hope when he mozied on over to his hide once again even despite my efforts. He got most of his neck in too when all of a sudden he paused.

I swear i was holding my breath as he slowly backed out of the hide and started to sniff around the enclosure. Then he went over to his water bowl AND DRANK. IN FRONT OF ME.

I have literally never seen this snake drink. He always does it when I’m not around.

Then he sat on top of his hide and stared at me.
Needless to say that was amazing progress if I’ve ever seen it so i left it at that. I’ve got a thousand and one different things running through my head right now. Like what if this progress is disappears tomorrow like it never happened? How sensitive is this dang snake if i can hardly sit in front of his enclosure without him peacing out? And if i’m freaking out when he does something relatively normal? Am i patient enough to get him to learn how to fully trust in people? What do i do if/when i need to remove him from his enclosure, will that ruin all of the progress and hard work I’ve put into him? Etc.etc.etc.

I know I’m a bit of a worry wort but this is honestly a rollercoaster. Has any of your guy’s carpet pythons been like this? Has anything changed as they aged? If so, what happened to incite the change? I’m convinced it has to be more than just husbandry and time.


What your describing is pretty standard behavior for Zebras (and some carpets in general). For whatever reason certain mutations of carpets seem to be more inclined to being jerks. It’s not uncommon for carpet pythons to never graduate beyond this behavior though.

I’ve heard that Lori Torini is making strides with socialization and interaction training, I would check her out on YouTube. She’s pretty much the expert in the that field in the hobby.