What rules and tricks pet owner must follow when handle pet snakes?
I have seen people handling snakes on TV a few times, but there was never any explanation on what should be done and what should be avoided. Because none of the shows I saw was about how to handle the snakes.
Well, first, it depends on the snake. I've only got two here that are at all aggressive. And they are wee little things. So honestly I don't mind getting bitten that much. With an aggressive/defensive snake, (they aren't ever aggressive actually, they are scared. They are acting defensively, because I am big, and there is a natural instinct that hasn't broken yet that is telling them, "Don't get eaten!"), you want to try to pick them up from the side or underneath, not from over the top as this represents a more aggressive posture. Try to avoid the head, and avoid any sudden movements, as these actions are more likely to invoke a defensive response from the snake. Let the snake crawl over you, and your hands as compared to you moving it. The goal is to get the snake to realize you are not a predator, and this is truly a learned behavior. Some learn it very quickly, and some hold onto for a while.
For the more tame animals, just be kind and gentle. Really, that's it. Don't force the snake anywhere, you can move them in any direction you want. I give all my animals a thorough check up every so often, including mouth and teeth, and yes, I open their mouths. With a tame animal, honestly, it is just common sense. Don't poke it in they eye. Don't squeeze it hard. Don't drop it, make sure to support the snake if it wants to cruise around and explore.
Good guide, Fishbone. Indeed some snakes are naturally tame. One of the videos you showed us in another thread had that "Iron Head" snake being handled. It was extremely tame. While being venomous, all it did was crawling around. There was no strike at all I often see with venomous snakes.
When a snake tied itself around a branch or something similar, how do you get it off?
Do you prefer to use hands or a tool when you pick up the snake?
On the how often do I get bitten front, well, that depends on the day, the seek, and what I have to do. If you are going to keep a number of different species of reptiles, you are going to get bitten by something. You have to be able to judge the individual animal. The last thing that bit me was my male leopard gecko, 'cuz I leave him in with his two girls, and, well, I think he was a bit randy I prefer my hands. It's easier and faster, and less stressful to the animal. And the snake is going to get used to it at some point, so why not now? I do have a small and larger hook. But I only use them in certain situations, if I know the snake is going to have a go at me. If for whatever reason there is food involved and I have to move something, which doesn't happen often. If there is the smell of rodent, anything warm will get tagged by some animals.
A snake is not naturally more aggressive just because it is venomous. Tom interacts with his animals regularly, and those were captive bred, so they are very used to humans. The only "general rule" I have come up with, is arboreal species tend to be more aggressive. Which brings us to how to get a snake off of a branch? If it is a captive bred animal that is used to people, and me in particular, I unwrap it and take it off. With young green tree pythons, and to a lesser extent emerald tree boas, their spines are fairly fragile at a young age, so I "tickle" their tails to get them to crawl off the branch on to me. The snakes that can be a pain to remove are my carpet pythons. They are very unusual animals, they have prehensile tails, like all snakes in the morelia genus, (including green tree pythons.) So they can really wrap around and grip, anything. They are like a cross between a Burmese python and a green tree python. They are smaller, and not quite as strong as the giants, but most are larger than, and much more strong, than a green tree. So if one of those is perched, and doesn't want to move, it can be a bit of wrestling match. I can't fins a good pic of one wrapped up at the moment.
04-30-2012, 01:00 PM, (This post was last modified: 04-30-2012, 01:05 PM by Black Mamba.)
This is great advice. When you go to pick up a snake, do it in a smooth, fluid motion. Don't hesitate or jerk your hands. Snakes are pure muscle, and are used to crawling over tree branches and stuff, so don't worry too much about only using one hand to pick them up at first; the pressure won't hurt the snake.
After that, just behave like it's environment, let it explore your hands/arms/wherever else it wants to crawl. If it starts going up your shirt or something, gently lift it away.
A good thing to do before getting a snake for the first time, since it sounds like you haven't handled one, is to go to a pet store or zoo that will show you how to hold one. Lots of science centers with snakes will do this, and the pet store owner probably will too.
Also, for transporting a snake, something I have found to work well is an old pillowcase. If you use one that you have slept on, and transport the snake in it, it can associate your scent and calm down. Pillowcases are great because they are breathable, flexible, and strong enough to hold a snake. Just tie a knot in the top so it can't get out, and you have a quick snake bag.
I was taught to pick them up in the middle to front area of their bodies, and let them freely flow or crawl through your hands. Don't pinch or hold them tightly or squeeze their body, and generally they will settle down and curl up around your arm or in your hand. I have picked up red corn snakes and garter snakes, pythons and yellow rat snakes, and king snakes, but left the poisenous ones to the experts.
My neighbor used to ask me to babysit his Albino Python names Ballsy. Whenever he left his snake in my office, I would just close the doors and let him roam free. He never did much roaming though. He'd usually just stay in one part of the room. Sometimes I would just leave Ballsy on my table and it would just stay there. Ballsy was a good snake and never gave me any trouble. He was long and heavy. The circumference of his body was as big as my leg. When I had to go to another part of the office, I would "wear" Ballsy on my shoulders and hold his head up. I think pythons are pretty harmless as long as they weren't hungry. I don't know about other snakes though. I would probably not be as calm with a poisonous snake.
It really depends on the type of snake and whether it was caught from the wild or had gotten used to being in captivity. I once had a tropical viper coming into my office and they called in the wranglers who used their tool (I forgot the name, but it's a long hollow pole with a noose threaded through it) to sort of lasso the snake (it was probably 3-4 feet long). They managed to gently maneuver the noose behind it's triangular-shaped head gently lifted it up and put into a bag. Then they took it to the jungles further inland (I used to work on a tropical island) to release it.