A missing snake is inevitable if you have them as pets. 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.
Where should I look for my lost snake?
1. Short answer – Everywhere!
2. Long answer – Everywhere five times over!
I suppose I should expound on what I mean. Basically I mean this; due to its nature, snakes will go wherever they want 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 – check in the sheets and inside pillow cases. Remove the top mattress.
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 and underneath the fridge and 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.
Still Can't Find Him
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.
Give consideration to your species, and what they specifically like doing when hiding.
When will it be moving around?
For snakes that are diurnal (lots of activity throughout the day) you’ve got a much better chance of crossing paths with it as it moves about. 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. Your snake needs to be comfortable to reveal itself, so don't do anything that will prevent this.
Is it 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 he will be comfortable in his own house.
If you can’t leave the tank out for some reason go out and buy a plastic container that will fit your snake and a portable heater. 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 anywhere the snake slithers around. 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 the search area where it crossed the flour.
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.
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 up a motion sensor with the camera so it only activates when he slithers by. 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.
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 is 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.
Put out food
It doesn’t hurt to place food out so for your snake to smell. I recommend leaving a mouse/rat, in some type of container or 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. This won't work if the snake is fed.
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 water where it normally travels.
When you least expect it, it will show up. Be it hanging out of a poster the day after it escaped, or 12 months down the line.