Safely Moving and Containing Snakes

Safe Snake Relocation:

Once you have made an R.A.D. (Realistic Assessment of Danger) and determined that there is really a need to move or contain the snake, you should decide whether it is more appropriate to move the animal a short distance (less than 500 feet) or contain it to be securely transported out of the area.

If the animal needs to be removed from the area, please leave it up to a wildlife professional to do the relocating or re-releasing. In some cases re-release is not advisable and the snake should find a permanent home where it can contribute to medical research or education. Snake Getters can help you find the nearest zoo, university, venom lab or licensed expert who can take responsibility for the animal, and usually someone can be dispatched immediately to pick the snake up at your location. Such places are often very glad to get these animals, and they can make valuable contributions to medical research and public education in your community.

Click here if you have a snake that needs an emergency pickup right now.

If the snake is a native species (not an escaped pet) and there are at least a few acres of undeveloped land nearby, there may not be any need to remove or contain the snake. If you need to encourage the snake to move out of the way of humans or pets, you can use a garden hose to direct a brisk stream of water on the snake for several minutes to make it uncomfortable. You can also use a snake hook or tongs to move the animal a short distance away from the property. If the animal needs to be moved more than 500 feet away from where it was found, please let a professional handle the relocation.

You can use common household objects such as a broom, a pool net, a mop, a dustpan or a wastebasket to move or contain the snake, if professional tools are not available on the scene. Any object that extends your reach beyond a snake’s body length can be very effective, but be sure that you know how to use these tools safely. If you are not sure, use only professional safety tools or call a local expert. This useful tutorial from the University of Florida shows how you can use a broom to manipulate a snake into an empty garbage can.

For your safety and for the safety of bystanders, you should try not to cause the snake pain. Like any animal (including humans), a snake is much more likely to bite if it is hurting, frightened or cornered with no chance to retreat. The more threatened and desperate an animal is, the more dangerous it is.

If you do not escalate the situation by using violence, there is a much better chance of a peaceful resolution. Remember, you are 100 times bigger than the snake. You are much stronger and smarter than the snake. Any snake is weak and helpless compared to you. You are the one in control, and it is not a good idea to use more force than necessary to "apprehend the suspect". You will find that the more you master the knowledge of "Snake-Jitsu", the easier it is to just walk up to a snake and calmly gain immediate control of the animal. It is safer for you and for bystanders if you are able to do this without the need for a violent struggle.

Summary:
Decide if there is any real need for your intervention (R.A.D).
Decide whether the snake needs to be moved or removed from the area.
If the snake must be removed, call a snake expert to relocate or find it a home.
Snakes are considered valuable for medical research and education.
Use tools to safely contain a snake, then call a snake expert for transport.
Use knowledge and skill, not violence, to gain safe control of a snake situation
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