Venomous snake restraint: tubing

Thomas Eimermacher of the Southeastern Hot Herp Society demonstrates here how to safely restrain a rhinocerous viper (Bitis nasicornis) for veterinary treatment. The snake is moved to a low table which is covered with soft foam padding and slightly sticky "rug runner" shelf lining material. This padding helps prevent injury to the snake, and the sticky surface of the shelf liner slows the animal down without harming it.

A clear plastic tube is gripped with the forceps and introduced over the animal's head.

The animal's head is gently guided into the tube with the help of the sturdy Midwest collapsible hook. If this was one of the faster moving species, a cap on the end of the tube would be highly recommended to stop the animal from crawling rapidly through the tube.

Large bodied pit vipers can become stuck in a tube if they are permitted to move too deeply inside of it, so shorter tubes are often useful. Before the snake moves all the way through the tube, it should be grasped and restrained.

Once the head is far enough inside the tube that the animal cannot quickly or easily back up, the snake's body is grasped gently but firmly at the junction of the tube. The handler should immediately reach down to restrain the rest of the snake's body with his or her other hand.

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