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Old 05-09-2009
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Default Snake Season

As the warmth of summer brings the snakes out, I ams ure animal control agencies will begin responding to calls on snakes. This is going to be my first summer doing animal control, so I don;t know what to expect. I am sure, since I am a volunteer I won't have to handle snakes, but when you are dispatched to a snake call, what do you do about it and how do you handle the snake?
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Old 05-09-2009
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First off, get some kind of book or guide to your local snakes. Here are a couple of ours, but I donít know what you have out there.

http://agrilifebookstore.org/publica...CRITERIA%3DAND

http://agrilifebookstore.org/publica...CRITERIA%3DAND

Then, if you can find a reliable herpetological person, not just some jerk with python that feeds it a guinea pig ever 6 months or so, or maybe contact the local zoo to see if you can get some actual live snake identification training.

I have never handled a live venomous snake, but I have handled a bunch of non-venomous local varieties. As a rule, snakes tend to be head shy and tail shy, meaning if you grab it by the head or tail it is more likely to fight. Usually, if you get them around the middle of the body they are much easier to handle.



I normally use a large trash bag to put them in, but being cold blooded they will over heat very quickly, so if your not going to immediately take it out and release it I would find something more porous.
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Old 05-09-2009
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Thanks for the advice, I'm going to have to put one of those pics up on the forums when I get my first snake call.
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Old 05-10-2009
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Tools:

(1) Pillowcases work well for nonvenomous snakes, just pop them in the case, zip-tie the top, and be gentle with it when you pick it up or put it down. When you get wherever you're going, cut the zip tie.

(2) 5-gallon buckets are good for venomous ones (& skunks), with air holes drilled in the lid. Put a towel in the bottom for traction and to give them some cover to hide in. A screw-on lid is great but they're kind of rare, you have to look hard for them.

(3) For snakes in garden netting, have a netcutter on hand (see photo below) -- that's a carpet blade on a box cutter (mine folds like a jacknife). Observe the snake(s) carefully for cuts where the netting has gotten too tight around them; they may need to go to a rehabber if the cut is deep.

(4) Snake tongs (like GTO is using above) can hurt the snake if grasped too close to the head/tail. Middle of the body (like he's doing), and be gentle.

Technique:

What GTO said. Find a herpetologist who will let you practice on their snakes.

Have fun! I was scared of them at first, but I really got to like the little rascals (or big rascals, depending).
Attached Images
File Type: jpg net knife closed.JPG (15.9 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg net knife open.JPG (16.3 KB, 5 views)
File Type: jpg snake head in netting.JPG (85.9 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg 2 snakes in bird netting.JPG (18.6 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg snake release.JPG (72.9 KB, 10 views)
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Last edited by stmelangell; 05-10-2009 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 05-10-2009
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Speaking of posting pics, if I can find them I have some that might be fun. One of our police officer removed a snake one day. She put it in a pillow case, tied up the top and put it in the floor of the squad. When she got down to the river bottoms she picked up the case and it was empty. A corner of the bag was unsewn leaving a hole big enough that the snake got out. The pictures are of the fire department disassembling the dash of the squad car trying to find/remove the snake.
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Old 05-10-2009
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Heh heh heh ...

Here's one that one of my bonehead ex-employees found in his radio. He "had no idea where it came from."



And, as a cautionary note, here's one that the same boneheads put in a 5-gallon container and forgot over the weekend. Luckily, their supervisor was in the habit of checking the truck inventory weekly on Sundays, and found it before it died of dehydration ...



As it turned out, the snake was sick anyway, so if they HAD let it go it would have died. It took a while getting him back up and around, but eventually he was good to go, and we sent him to a reptile rescue in Riverside.

Moral of the story: CHECK EVERY COMPARTMENT before you leave work every day ...
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Old 05-11-2009
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Around here baby Rattlers are hatching and leaving thier nests. We are getting daily calls about rattlers. About half the time the snake is actually a Gopher snake (non-venomous), but the Gopher snakes around here are rattler mimicks. They do have simular coloring, and actually coil and quiver thier tails as if rattling it. They have a noise they make too to mimick rattle sound. It's not as loud but dumb animals (humans mostly lol) think they are rattlers and freak out.

It's really important if your going to be having anything to do with snakes to KNOW and recognize the types in your area.

Snake tongs (as indicated above) a 5 gallon bucket with a lid, stead hand and patience.
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Last edited by Sassy; 05-11-2009 at 03:46 AM.
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Old 05-11-2009
ACO in Greenville,TX ACO in Greenville,TX is offline
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Laundry bags work great too. I have them in all the vehicles for the officers to use. They have drawstrings on the top and they let in air. They work great for squirrels too.

You can use a fetch pole to remove a snake just remember to be gentle and get it midway down the body.

I had the weirdest dream last night where I was going around to the local golf courses trying to find someone to sell and modify old golf clubs to be used for snake handling. Never did find one before I woke up. Gotta stop taking my work home with me. LOL
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Old 05-11-2009
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One of the lesser experienced ACOs called me regarding snakes as well. When we take radiographs (x-rays) of snakes, we place them in a cardboard tubing to get some control of the snake. They seem to calm down in their. We often try to get them to crawl into a pipe, etc. if the snake is small and then place it into a larger, more secure container if possible. (The snakes in our area have mostly been small snakes.)
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Old 05-11-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACO in Greenville,TX View Post
Laundry bags work great too. I have them in all the vehicles for the officers to use. They have drawstrings on the top and they let in air. They work great for squirrels too.
Dude! That's a GREAT idea! Heavier fabric than a pillowcase and the drawstring is perfect. Thanks!!!
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