Despite their normally pleasant disposition ball pythons can and do bite. They don’t bit too often but if you work with them long enough you will get bit. It doesn’t hurt too much, though. It’s the quickness of it that startles you more than anything.
I’ll wager that 95% or more of bites are on the hands and arm. People don’t often get bit in other places but I’m sure there are no places on the human body that have not been bit. In fact, less than a week ago I know of a guy getting in a spot that would make this post no longer PG-rated.
One of two places I have always wanted to make sure I NEVER get bit is in the face; more specifically, the eye.
Having said that let me introduce you to Mike Hauck:
Mike and I met at the Hamburg snake show on Saturday. He works for a fellow breeder and on Friday, the day before Mike and I met, he got bit by a ball python. To be more specific, he got bit in the face. To be even more specific, he got bit in the eye. The suck factor on that is pretty darn high.
You know how sometimes things that aren’t funny make you laugh really hard? This is one of em’. Mike spent most of the day getting joked by everybody at the show who heard what happened to him. “Careful Mike, that’s the business end of that thing!” He was a trooper about it and was cool enough to know that he should be laughing at himself, too. I suggested a visit to the opthamologist but so far he seems cool with the idea wearing an eye patch if there is broken tooth or two left to fester in his eye. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that if a tooth had stayed behind he’d be in a heck of a lot more pain. A fleck of lint under my contact lens is painful so I’ll bet a python tooth buried 1/16″ into the sclera wouldn’t be painless.
The picture I took of Mike was with my iPhone and it kinda sucks so you can’t really tell where the bite is. What the camera also fails to show is the overall redness of his face and eye. He looked like he went out with some friends, got drunk and then got beat up. The sclera (the white part of his eye) was filled with blood and the teeth of the snake even managed to sink into the lacrimal caruncle (the little ball in the inner-corner of your eye). Ouch! He said it didn’t hurt any more than a regular bite and, not wanting to ever prove him wrong, will take his word for it. Here is an enhanced version of the photo that shows just where Mike took his shot.
I’m sure there are a lot of people who have been bit in the face by snakes but as far as I know, Mike is the inagural member of the “took one in the eye” club.
Congratulations Mike Hauck on your achievement. I’m sure other are lining up to join you in your achievement.