Venomous snake restraint: tubing

The tubed snake may now be safely handled in the manner shown. Note that the snake's head is kept a few inches from the end of the tube. The handler's firm grasp should not permit the snake to move forward or backward in the tube. The snake's body should be kept straight. Any bends or curves will permit it to extend suddenly out of the open end of the tube.

If the tube is not an appropriate size for the snake, the handler can run into serious problems. A tube that is too large can allow a snake to turn around, and a tube that is too small may have to be cut if the snake gets wedged too tightly inside of it. Large bodied pit vipers in particular are prone to this problem, which is why shorter tubes that mask the head and upper body alone are recommended for this species.


Thomas Eimermacher and James Garrity demonstrate the technique of giving oral medication to a tubed venomous snake. Antiparasitical medication is carefully measured and drawn up into a syringe fitted with a urinary catheter. A volume of water equal to the volume of the catheter is preloaded into the syringe before the medication is drawn up.

Click here to learn more about assist feeding techniques with tubes or with whole prey.


James introduces the catheter into the snake's mouth using forceps. He is careful to avoid the snake's airway, and will most likely go in through the corner of the mouth to avoid the centrally placed glottis. The catheter is advanced a little less than a third of the way down the snake's body and the medication is delivered.

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