Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Plattsmouth, NE
Aww...here's what REALLY happened.
Chester, being a ball python, has TERRIBLE eyesight. He really can't see a foot in front of his face. He's like the T-Rex from Jurassic Park "Her vision is based on movement!" He sees a big blurry thing that moves, when you move outside of his cage. He also sees heat. He has a great sense of smell, but he can't smell through glass.
So, when the light startled him, look at it from his perspective. He's small, and very vulnerable.
Suddenly, there's light! Perhaps some evil, predatory animal was standing there, and it just moved out of the way...I must have been in its shadow! Where did it go?
There! Movement! Something big and warm! AGGH It's coming for me!!! I'm cold and I can't run away fast...get away or I'll bite, I'm warning you! AGGH!!
So, just give poor Chester a break. He probably doesn't know you very well yet (that can take months), but even so, he didn't even realize it was YOU he was attacking. Take care that he doesn't hurt his face on the glass that way, either.
Baby ball pythons are very high strung. They know how vulnerable they are to predators, and so they can be very snappy and defensive, sometimes. Be sure that Chester has two small, tight hides in his cage, one on the warm, and one on the cool side. Be sure his temperatures and humidity are right--it's very important. (A heat pad controlled by a thermostat is really the safest way to provide heat, and it will keep working after a power outage).
If you go to pick him up, and he seems uncertain or defensive, use a 'tap stick'--a small stick or mini snake hook, or even something like a ruler, to just gently nudge him and stroke him, until he puts his head down and relaxes a little bit, or hides his head. Then, you can reach in and pick him up without getting snapped at. This can also be used if he takes on an attitude that suggests he is looking for food (you are warm, so mistakes can be made--remember the bad eyesight!)
Baby ball pythons will usually outgrow their jumpiness by the time they're 6 months to a year old, but always be careful not to startle your animal, and if you do, approach cautiously--their instincts are there to keep them save from predators, and while they are usually very docile animals, they're not extremely intelligent, and they can make mistakes.