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Finding a missing snake – Tips to help locate a snake that has escaped


It happens to the most conscientious of those of us who keep snakes. At one point or another you will very likely find yourself faced with a missing snake. It doesn’t seem to matter if you’ve bought a pre-made housing solution, or built your own cage if there is a way to escape a snake will find it. Unless you’ve had your snake escape you can’t know the panic that sets in, but that’s the worst time to panic. You first need to find the animal and then if you’re still inclined feel free to panic. Before you resolve where your snake is your duty is to search, not panic.

Where should I look for my lost snake?
Short answer – Everywhere!

Long answer – Everywhere five times over!

I suppose I should expound on what I mean. Basically I mean this; due to its nature a snake can end up almost anywhere at all and often times you will miss him the first several times looking for him even though he lies “right in front of your eyes”. Being methodical in your search isn’t enough in many cases, you must be paranoid. Suspect your snake to be hidden away in the most unlikely possible places.

  • In dressers, bureau, desk, kitchen, and all other drawers – unfold all clothes and emptying all drawers. All drawers were removed from their respective slots including the ones not meant to be removed
  • Inside of every pair of shoes within 10 miles. Ok not really, but look in all in your home
  • The beds – remove sheets and pillow cases. Remove the matterss from the box spring. Basically strip the bed bare
  • The closets – All clothing should be removed and searched. Shoes, shelves removed where possible and thoroughly inspected when not. Any boxes or anything else.
  • The entire bathroom, including removing drain pipes and opening the back of the toilet, through the drawers, in the medicine cabinets.
  • Inside computers, in and near heating ducts, behind the refrigerator, in under and behind the oven. Pretty much anywhere that a snake might go for a bit of heat
  • Bookshelves – Behind the books, under the books, on top of the book. Everywhere you think the snake could be and then everywhere you are certain it won’t be.

I could go on and on with places to look but it is pretty self-explanatory how through you neeed to be. If you’ve done all that an the snake still remains missing then read on. Hopefully you’ll find something here to help you locate your wayward pet.

My snake is still lost!
Sadly this happens, and even though I know you’re having a hard time you’re duty is still to not panic. Now you need to plan for finding the snake in a more passive search. Think about what you know about snakes. How they act, what they seek, and what they avoid. Consider your particular type of snake and what it will be doing based on the species.
When will it be moving around?
If your snake is diurnal (active during the day) you’ve got a much better chance of crossing paths with it as it moves about during the day. On the other hand if it is nocturnal you’d be better off saving your effort during the day and searching at night.

What will scare it?
Remove anything that might spook the snake. Loud noises, and other animals being primary sources. It all depends on the snake, but try to remove those things. You want the snake to be comfortable enough to come out.

It’s too cold
Then put his tub out there all set up. I had a snake escape and put his tub in the middle of the living room floor and the next morning he was camping out in his hide. Your snake might go out exploring, and he might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but he will recognize the comforts of “home”.

If you can’t leave the tank out for some reason go out and buy a Sterilite container that is large enough for your snake and an Under the Tank Heater and put some newspapers in it and leave it out. If it’s too cold you might find him there enjoying the heat the next morning.

What else can I do to find my snake?
There are a few tricks you can try to help you find your snake. Each one is potentially effective, but you need to decide what method(s) are going to be effective in your situation.
Lay out flour
Put flour along the baseboards, in thresholds, and anywhere else the snake might be traveling. If it crosses through you’ll both see the impression in the flour and you’ll see where it has tracked the flour. Since snakes aren’t known to travel great distances you’ll be able to concentrate your search in the general area that the flour was disturbed.

Crumpled paper
Leave crumpled newspaper between doorways and along the walls (if you have enough of it). Then sit and listen for it being moved. If it is seek out the source of the sound and hopefully it’ll be your snake. Sometimes you’ll need to be quite for a few hours because the snake might not be inclined to move after you stomping through the house like a madman tossing paper all over the place.

Camera
I wish I could remember where I saw this idea, but on a forum I read someone had suggested using a webcam setup to watch for an escaped snake. That’s a great idea with a few exceptions. You’d have to set it up to only record on motion or you’d eat up your hard drive space in very short order. You’d also be fairly limited to what area you could “watch”. Finally you’d have to be watching it and right on top of things. It won’t hurt anything to use a camera, but if you depend on it alone you’ll probably not have much luck.

Tape
This method I found at the Kingsnake forums. It seems pretty reasonable to me and when you’re looking for your snake you’ll try just about anything.

I bought 10 rolls of thin scotch tape.. and left an outline everywhere.. all doorways, around appliances etc… sticky side up.. in the hopes of pointing in what direction the sneaky bugger had traveled..

Turn down the heat
Try turning down the house heat (if it is the season for it to be on) and setting out a tub with a heat mat as suggested above. You’re snake will seek heat. Furthermore I suggest unplugging all non essentials so that the snake will be limited in its choice of heat.

This is also a good time to go to bed and see if it doesn’t crawl in with you to get a bit of your body heat. There’s a reason that the cowboys of old used to be very careful in the mornings when slipping out of their bedding. Rattlesnakes would sometimes bed down with them for a little bit of warmth. Now hopefully you’ve not lost a rattlesnake, but the theory of a snake finding its way into a persona bed has been proven out time and time again.

Leave some food out
It doesn’t hurt to leave some food out for the snake to catch a sniff of. I recommend leaving a live mouse/rat in a small live cage so the snake can smell it. Keep an eye on the spot and see if the snake doesn’t come along looking for an easy meal. If you’ve just fed the snake this probably won’t work as well as it could.

In the end finding your snake will be an exercise in patience, and dedication. Some people have reported their snakes turning up over a year later. There’s no way to tell when it will show up or even if it will, but just because you don’t find it in a day or three don’t lose hope. Keep looking, keep offering it food and leave water out. One day it might just show up. Be it hanging out of a poster the day after it escaped, or 12 months down the line.

  • Ribbitj86

     My Darwin Carpet Python escaped after only 4 days together.  He’s only 6months old and I’m worried that he might be “feral” if I don’t find him relativly soon.

  • Angeli97913

    I lost my pet sanke it is a baha snake

  • Dansthechick027

    my corn snake is just a little over 2 years old, and has just gone missing this is the 3rd time now iv been able to find it with in 30mins but now i cant find it any where iv turned the house upside down, its been missing for about 24hrs..ish and im really worried, thanks for the tips and ideas to help find him
       

  • Crystalrose_34

    I had a corn snake escape and I never realized it until I picked up my photo album, and there she was….hiding in the spine of the album. Startled me too…I wasn’t quite expecting to see one of my snakes in it! We also had a ball python escape, she was gone a week and one day she just crawled out from under the bed and across my foot. After that she was no longer a problem eater!

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