More and more snake owners are taking the preventative step of having their pets microchipped. For years now dog and cat owners have enjoyed the peace of mind that comes with this small measure. Countless pets have been returned to their rightful owners due to people having the foresight to have the procedure done. With this article we will take a look at what it means to microchip your snake and how it can benefit you.
- A little about the microchip
- There are several different companies which market pet microchips but they all work the same. The chip is implanted under your snakes skin using a special hypodermic needle. It is approximately the size of a grain of rice and coated in a special resin that helps to ensure the snake’s body won’t reject it as a foreign substance. It works by passing a hand held scanner over the area of the snake’s body where the chip has been implanted. The scanner activates the embedded microchip which then sends a radio signal to the scanner that contains the unique id number of that microchip. The vet or shelter worker using the scanner is then able to look the information up in a database and contact the owner of the animal (assuming the contact information is up to date).
- Deciding to get your snake microchipped
- In some places you are required by law to get certain species of snakes “chipped”. In the US state of Florida for example large snakes and monitors are required to be microchipped and licensed (if you live in Flordia check with your local authorities to find out the exact species which fall under this law). There is a movement in the US to require all “large” boas, pythons, and lizards to be microchipped.
If you aren’t living in Florida and aren’t required by law to get your snake microchipped you should do so anyways. It will give you peace of mind and for the $10 to $25 it costs (depending on where it is done and by whom) there’s no reason not to do it. The best time is when you take your snake in for a normal checkup. Some people say that the chance of a snake getting out is so slim that they can’t justify the need for a microchip. It’s true that snakes aren’t as likely to get lose and roam the neighborhood as dogs or cats you only need to watch the news a few times to see a story about animal control trying to find the owner of a lost Boa Constrictor.
- Who should you let microchip your snake?
- The best person to have do this is a vet who specializes in herpatological medicine. They will be the most familiar with your snake’s anatomy and best able to safely perform the procedure. Many animal shelters will also do it, but be careful about using them. The staff will probably know how to chip a mammal, but snake’s are different.
- After care
- There is really no special after care needed. The whole process takes a few seconds to do and as long as you do what is possible to minimize the stress there’s not much else to worry about. Once you get your snake home just let it rest in its cage for a couple of days. Keep an eye on the snake, especially the area where the microchip was implanted just to be a good steward. If you notice swelling, bleeding, scabbing, puss or anything else that looks abnormal contact the vet and see what they say to do. In 99.99999% of cases you’ll never even realize the snake has been implanted with a chip.
If you are still not sure about getting a microchip for your pet snake remember that if your snake were to go missing or be stolen the chances of ever seeing it again without the chip are almost nonexistent. With the chip at least there’s a chance that a shelter or vet will find it in a routine scan of the animal.