Please Take These Snakes!

Every day people who live in your neighborhood find snakes on their property and kill them, because few or no public services will respond to snake calls. If the police or fire department does respond to a snake call, the snake is frequently killed - unless the officers have been through our Snake Getters snake safety training course and know enough to call us for help.

Snake Getters is an informal network of zookeepers, herpetologists, field biologists, researchers, venom lab owners and experienced reptile keepers based in Central Florida who are willing to help answer "snake emergency" calls in their community. The police call one of our dispatchers, and we speak to the homeowner and try to get a positive identification of the snake and a confirmation that it is in a known location waiting to be picked up by a volunteer. Then the call goes out from us to YOU. Can you help save a snake's life, and maybe acquire a nice new specimen for your collection?

Sign up now at our website www.snakegetters.com/signup.html with your name, location, phone number and the hours you are reachable and able to respond to calls. You must also apply for a nuisance wildlife removal permit. Download this form at http://www.floridaconservation.org/permits/

Our policy is that non native reptiles must not be returned to the wild. Albino pythons, boas, monitor lizards and tegus have been among our recent catches! You may keep, sell, trade or give away these exotic animals when you find them on a call. By our rules native reptiles may not be sold, they may only be relocated, kept by you personally or donated to an educational or scientific facility.

Relocation is the first and best option, assuming there is sufficient habitat left near the capture site. If you cannot realistically relocate the animal within 500 feet of the capture site, captivity is a preferred option. Do not relocate wild animals more than 1 kilometer from the capture site as the mortality rate is extremely high in displaced adult snakes of all species studied to date. Animals recovered from recent construction sites should generally be taken into captivity if there does not appear to be any sustainable habitat left around the site.

While most snakes identified on the phone as venomous are actually harmless, if you do identify a snake as venomous you should not attempt to capture it unless you are properly experienced and licensed. Alert the hotline and we will dispatch a second volunteer who has the appropriate skills. All volunteer activities are conducted at your own risk and you should always use good judgement and put your safety first. Minors may not go on calls unless accompanied by their parent or guardian.

For more information, call Howard Riley at (407) 467 9976. Police and other public safety officers may ask for the Snake Getters administrative number or email snakegetters a^t usa d0t net to arrange for free officer safety training.

If you are not in Florida, please use our regular guest book to make your information publically available to people in your area who could use your services. Talk to your local police, sheriffs and fire departments and ask them to refer their snake emergency calls to you and your reptile keeping friends. You are welcome to use the resources on this site to help teach your local public safety officers how to deal with snakes in a safe and humane manner.


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