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Old 03-13-2009
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Default Snakes, how do you deal with them?

I was reading this thread but didn't want to revive it.

http://www.acofunstop.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10872

Snakes have always fascinated me as has most critters. I would like to offer up some tips on how to catch your average snake with the exception of the red tail boa in the thread referenced. Like in that situation you will have some situations that you have to improvise in.

I used to carry a discarded putter (golf putter) in my truck. With most snakes you can pin their head down to the ground or floor, and get your fingers up behind their head and they can't bite you. Be sure to get as close to the back of the head as possible otherwise they can and will probably bite.

Non-poisonous snakes mouths are dirty and if they bite you you could get an infection from this fact. You could even develop Sepsis or gangrene from it. So always clean the wound thoroughly ASAP!

Poisonous snakes of course you have to be extremely careful with. Identify the snake first. Know whether it is poisonous or not, then handle it accordingly. With the exception of the Coral snake, snakes native to the US that are poisonous generally have a triangular shaped head. Also keep one thing in mind, most non-poisonous snakes will run, poisonous snakes will stand their ground because they have a defense mechanism. But they will all bite when pressed or trapped. Believe it or not I used the putter for both kinds. I was only bitten once by a non-poisonous snake (funny story I'll include at the end).

If you can get a coiled snake to strike at something (not you) about 5-6 times it will tire out. It expends quite a bit of energy in the strike, so tiring one out first will help. You'll know when it's tired when it starts protecting it's head. Being coiled up to strike, it will hide it's head on the bottom of the coil as much as it can. This is the best time to catch it before it catches it's wind.

Some non-poisonous snakes mimic sounds that are related to poisonous snakes. For example a gopher snake will mimic a rattlesnake by hissing, that sounds like a rattlesnake if you don't see it. They will also waggle their tail on a leaf or dry grass to mimic the same sound as a rattlesnake. Don't go by what you think it is, go by what you know it is. Like I said, if you press even a non-poisonous snake they will bite, but they'd rather you left them alone.

I'll post some more stuff later, now for the funny story where I got bit. I got a call on a snake in a wood pile. I get to the location and sure enough it was still there. It was a bull snake non-poisonous. I used the putter I mentioned earlier and caught it putting my fingers slightly back from the back of the head or jaws. As I was talking to the lady that called in, the snake reached back and bit me on the knuckle. It started to bleed a little, but that wasn't the thing. The lady went into hysterics and wanted to call an ambulance for me. It was a scratch! There were no fangs! Needless to say it might be one of those situations you had to be there. But I know many of you have had similar situations.
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Old 03-13-2009
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Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents



As a rule, if you pick them up from mid body they usually just hang there. They tend to be head shy and tail shy, so handling either end can provoke a response.
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Quote:
As a rule, if you pick them up from mid body they usually just hang there. They tend to be head shy and tail shy, so handling either end can provoke a response.
Thats great to know, but I still won't respond to snake calls.
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Originally Posted by Getting too old View Post
Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents



As a rule, if you pick them up from mid body they usually just hang there. They tend to be head shy and tail shy, so handling either end can provoke a response.
Although I agree with you GTO, identifying the snake first is a huge plus. Like the one in your picture, I couldn't tell you what kind it is actually, but I can tell you for certain it was non-poisonous. I will explain that in a minute. The grabbers you are using in the picture do keep the ACO at a safe distance from the biting end of the snake. And would be something I highly recommend you ask your supervisor for or ask they get put in the budget. They should be made of good quality material to hold a heavy snake like what you have.

Now to the non-poisonous identifier on the snake you have. (If you still have this picture and can blow it up a little more it would help, isolating the snake mostly. But if you can't I'll see if I can find something online.) Look at the under side of this snake. Look at how the scales on it's belly go across from one side to another. Notice from the anus to the tip of the tail those scales change to interlocking of two scales from each side overlapping in the middle of the bottom side. If you see this, it means it's a non-poisonous snake. A poisonous snake will have the same scales from head to tail on their belly.

Here is a good site that gives pictures of the poisonous snakes you are likely to encounter.

http://www.kcma.net/snakes/venomous_snakes.htm

There are only 4 types of poisonous snakes native to the US. However, you may encounter some of the exotic ones to in your line of work. In the thread referenced in the opening post, it is recommended that you have a local herpatologist help if they exist and are willing to do it. I agree most of them will. However, you are still left with the call at hand if they are busy at the moment. As I said, I was fascinated with these creatures as well as most critters. I took the snake calls voluntarily maybe there is someone on your staff that would be glad to take this type of call that would be more inclined to dealing with the snake at hand.

Here is another good article:
http://www.crittercontrol.com/animal...moussnakes.php

Last edited by 2057; 03-13-2009 at 12:12 PM. Reason: added last link
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Old 03-13-2009
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My bad, I was just chatting and not thinking about anything significant. The link also has the deal about the eye. A venomous snake will have a slit for a pupil, similar to that of a cat, when a non venomous will have a round pupil. In fact, the non-venomous that I handle all look like they have BB stuck in the side of their head in place of an eye.

There ainít no way, no sir, no how nuh uh that Iím gonna pick up a snake and look under itís tail to check the scales. I can see the eye from well out of striking range, so it is much safer.

You can view the PDF of this publication. It is pretty good
http://agrilifebookstore.org/publica...SEARCH%3Dsnake

The snake in that picture is known both as a Bull Snake and a Gopher Snake. Some say they are different, some say they are the same, I donít really care. They are normally about 3 Ė 4 feet, but this fella was every bit of 6. This species, whatever it is, is marked like a rattlesnake, and they will coil and shake their tail to try to bluff predators. If the tail is near something, it will make a buzzing sound, and that was the case on this call. It was hitting a metal fence post with its tail, and the folks were calling 911 reporting a rattlesnake.

When I arrived, they said it had climbed over the fence and was around the shed in the next yard. Since venomous snakes rarely climb, I knew what I had before I ever saw it. After I caught it, then I had to give the herpetology 101 class while everybody ran home and got their cameras.

I really enjoy teaching people about snakes and opossums, because they are so common, and so misunderstood. Kind of like Pit Bulls.
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We only have to repond to snakes in dwelling calls(thank god) but as a rule of thumb for me I handle all my calls as if it is venomus. This way if a new exotic is the current must have Im not worring if the hospital has anti-venom.

that is a big snake there, I dont think I'd have gone looking for that
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My first snake class went something like this. If it rattles its a rattlesnake, if it swims its a water moccasin and everything else is a copperhead.

In all actuality though, you never know what might be in a house, especially a drug dealerís house. In an adjoining city they did a drug bust, and the drugs were in the aquarium with the snake. They figured it was just a python or something, so they just dumped it out on the floor, recovered the drugs, then called a snake guy to come gather up the snake.

When the snake dude got there, it turns out that the snake was a Gaboon viper http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitis_gabonica
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OMG.....

My mantra every morning, please lord dont let me go home with anymore holes than I started my day with

Ya just never know what you can walk into..........
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Here's one (gopher snake) that hangs around the house here. I leave it be to get the mice and things.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Getting too old View Post
My bad, I was just chatting and not thinking about anything significant. The link also has the deal about the eye. A venomous snake will have a slit for a pupil, similar to that of a cat, when a non venomous will have a round pupil. In fact, the non-venomous that I handle all look like they have BB stuck in the side of their head in place of an eye.

There ainít no way, no sir, no how nuh uh that Iím gonna pick up a snake and look under itís tail to check the scales. I can see the eye from well out of striking range, so it is much safer.

You can view the PDF of this publication. It is pretty good
http://agrilifebookstore.org/publica...SEARCH%3Dsnake

The snake in that picture is known both as a Bull Snake and a Gopher Snake. Some say they are different, some say they are the same, I donít really care. They are normally about 3 Ė 4 feet, but this fella was every bit of 6. This species, whatever it is, is marked like a rattlesnake, and they will coil and shake their tail to try to bluff predators. If the tail is near something, it will make a buzzing sound, and that was the case on this call. It was hitting a metal fence post with its tail, and the folks were calling 911 reporting a rattlesnake.

When I arrived, they said it had climbed over the fence and was around the shed in the next yard. Since venomous snakes rarely climb, I knew what I had before I ever saw it. After I caught it, then I had to give the herpetology 101 class while everybody ran home and got their cameras.

I really enjoy teaching people about snakes and opossums, because they are so common, and so misunderstood. Kind of like Pit Bulls.
No problem, and that article you linked to shows what I was talking about with the scales near the tail in the identifying poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. Teaching the public was always my favorite part too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NCACO2CI View Post
We only have to repond to snakes in dwelling calls(thank god) but as a rule of thumb for me I handle all my calls as if it is venomus. This way if a new exotic is the current must have Im not worring if the hospital has anti-venom.

that is a big snake there, I dont think I'd have gone looking for that
That's a good rule of thumb!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Getting too old View Post
My first snake class went something like this. If it rattles its a rattlesnake, if it swims its a water moccasin and everything else is a copperhead.

In all actuality though, you never know what might be in a house, especially a drug dealerís house. In an adjoining city they did a drug bust, and the drugs were in the aquarium with the snake. They figured it was just a python or something, so they just dumped it out on the floor, recovered the drugs, then called a snake guy to come gather up the snake.

When the snake dude got there, it turns out that the snake was a Gaboon viper http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitis_gabonica
I don't think I would like to have had that call. But it goes to show why it's necessary to know what kind of snake you might be dealing with.
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