If you spend any amount of time around snakes you’ll certainly come across at least one that is unusually aggressive. Knowing how to handle that animal will help protect you and it. There are several tips and tricks in this article, but remember that nothing compares with first hand experience when it comes to handling aggressive snakes so be sure to seek out someone knowledgeable in your area should you need help.
- Aggressive or defensive?
- Before you worry about handling the snake you should figure out if it is indeed aggressive or just being defensive. The reason to figure this out is because if it is just being defensive and you can remove whatever is causing the agitation you can often calm it down. On the other hand if it is aggressive there’s not a lot you can do.
Some things to take note of are as follows:
- Is the snake always agitated?
- Is the snake only agitated in certain situations?
- Do particular people seem to upset it more than others?
- Do other household pets seem to influence its behavior?
Look for patterns and when you find something try eliminating it to see if the snake becomes less aggressive. If the snake is being defensive removing whatever is causing it to be in that state of mind should help out immensely.
- Safety precautions
- While snakes don’t require daily handling there are going to be times when you’ll need handle an aggressive snake. When it comes time to clean its tank is a good example. Also when you need to take it to the vet is another example. Whatever the case maybe the best thing to do is to assume you’ll have to handle the aggressive snake and plan accordingly before the time comes.
- Size of the snake
- Before doing anything else consider the size of the strength compared to you. The common wisdom is that for every 6 feet of snake there needs to be one person. This is a bit to liberal in my opinion especially when it comes to an aggressive snake. For an aggressive snake you’d be better served to have 1 person per every 4 feet of snake. By 1 person I mean to say one full grown adult, not a kid. And by adult I mean someone in good physical shape who can handle fighting against a snake should that become necessary.
- Safety equipment
- Having the proper equipment on hand will make your job much easier. Handling an aggressive snake with the wrong equipment can spell trouble for everyone involved. Some things you should have are:
- Appropriate sized bag/container to put the snake in
- Long sleeved shirt
- Leather gloves
- Long pants
- Snake hook(s)
- A few bandages and antiseptic
The bandages and antiseptic is for the people handling the snake if it were to bite someone. Before using a snake hook you should learn how to do so properly. That’s beyond the scope of this article, but I suggest asking around in your local area to see if anyone uses them. Most likely someone does.
- Expect to be bitten
- Whenever you are dealing with an aggressive snake just plan on getting bit. Because no matter how careful you are at some point it will bite you. Might not be the first 20 times you work with it but at some point your “luck” will run out. So always, always, always be ready for it. Particularly if you are working with venomous snakes or very large specimens that can cut you to the bone with one bite.
When you are bit take care of the bite as quickly as possible WITHOUT putting others or the snake at risk. You can judge for yourself how serious the bite is and will have to adjust accordingly to deal with it.
- Handling day
- When the time comes to actually handling the aggressive pet snake following some simple rules will help out greatly.
- Avoid “big” movements. Be as subtle as possible.
- Let the snake get used to your presence. Don’t just walk in and grab it hang out in the room with it for about 15 to 20 minutes
- The quicker you can get it into the bag/container the better. Sometimes just getting the head covered will calm the snake down considerably
- Remember snakes don’t have human emotions so when it strikes at you it is trying to defend itself not teach you a lesson
- Avoid handling within a few days of feeding day. Snakes know when feeding time is and will be harder to deal with at that point
- Don’t hesitate. When you make the decision to stick your hand in with an aggressive snake take control of the situation immediately. Don’t let the snake dictate how things go.
As always be sure you have the proper people and gear on hand to provide for both your safety and the safety of the snake
In closing it should be noted that this article is written about adult snakes that are for one reason or another bent towards aggression. Many baby and juvenile snakes are aggressive until you handle them a little bit and they have time to get used to you. In those cases safety equipment isn’t really an issue so much as patience is important.