Whether you want to control a garden pest or take a closer look at these fascinating creatures, catching snakes is possible, even for those who have no experience with reptiles. It is a dangerous animal, but some precautions minimize the risks that are run when trying to handle it.
Method 1 of 3: Catching the Snake
Step 1. Engage her in a network
The net needs to have a long handle, which you can improvise by tying a tennis racket, badminton racket or a broomstick to it. When you see the snake, approach quickly. Put the net in front of her head, trying to coax her inside. The length of the cable should be such that your body is at a safe distance from the snake during the capture attempt. Raise the net as soon as the snake enters it to prevent it from escaping.
- The net must be compatible with the size of the snake you want to catch.
- Placing the net in front of the snake's head works because it will take it for a safe place and will voluntarily try to shelter in it.
- Approach stealthily and carefully. Running with a bang towards the snake will prompt it to flee or, even worse, attack.
Step 2. Use a trash can and a broom
This is a simple way to get it without having to handle it directly. Provide a large trash can and put it down. Using the broom, guide the reptile into the trash can. Cover it and transport it to the area where you want to release the snake.
Step 3. Use snake restraint tweezers
Close the tweezers rods just behind the reptile's head. The degree of pressure with which this must be done depends on the size of the snake. Squeeze just enough to immobilize her without injuring her.
Snake containment tweezers, available at specialty stores, are more recommended than improvised tools
Step 4. Catch the snake with homemade items
If a snake invades your home and immediate removal is necessary, you can quickly improvise with objects you have a home: pick up an old shirt or bath towel and a pillowcase. Toss the shirt or towel over the snake's head and front body. Frightened, she will curl up under the cloth.
- Without delay, begin wrapping the shirt with the pillowcase, carefully sliding one of the edges along the floor, wrapping the shirt and the snake. This can also be done with a large bag for washing underwear, as long as you are able to catch the reptile without hesitation and make sure it is not poisonous.
- As a last resort, it is possible to wait for the snake to voluntarily coil itself, toss it with a large, heavy towel, and then pick it up and place it in an empty box that will hold it. Remove the towel, close the box quickly and only open it once the animal has calmed down. Make sure the bottom of the box is well sealed, reinforcing it with adhesive tape, if applicable. Ask someone to hold the lid uninterrupted in case you need to move away from the box. Release the animal not less than 8 km from your home. If you need to transport it yourself, close the box very tightly so there is no possibility of the snake escaping to other parts of the trunk or vehicle. Release her away from residential areas, in a region where she is able to live peacefully.
Method 2 of 3: Building a trap to catch the snake
Step 1. Use an adhesive trap, an inexpensive option that can be found easily in building materials warehouses
The trap consists of a box with an adhesive coating on the bottom, and must be equipped with a bait so that the reptile is attracted into the device (from where it cannot escape). Use frozen rats - available at pet stores - or common eggs as bait.
- Check the trap regularly. As the snake will remain immobile, it may die of hunger if it spends a few days trapped.
- The size of the trap must be compatible with that of the snake: if it is too small, it can escape by dragging the trap with it - which, in the same way, will kill it after some time.
- Remove the snake from the trap using olive oil or vegetable oil. When you reach the area where you are going to release her, pour the oil over her to neutralize the adhesive and allow her to come out of the trap unharmed.
Step 2. Set your own trap
To do this, provide an empty 2 L plastic bottle, bait and scissors. Clean the bottle to strip it of any reptile-repulsive odors. Cut a small hole in it, just big enough for the snake to enter. The aim is for the snake to devour the bait, which will make it too big to exit through the hole it entered.
Step 3. Use a gullery
Fishing traps are great. Leave some eggs inside to attract the snake, which will be able to get to them, but once inside the trap, it will be unable to get out.
Method 3 of 3: Catching the Snake by Hand
Step 1. Check that the snake in question is safe to handle with your hands
Every snake bites when provoked, but the bite varies in severity and may or may not be poisonous. It is impossible for someone inexperienced to identify a venomous species on the basis of appearance alone. Without being sure that the snake is not poisonous, do not try to catch it with your hands. These are some of the most common venomous snakes:
- Copper-head Moccasin: Found in eastern and south-central US states. The name comes from the peculiar copper-colored scales on the head and fading along the body. It has triangular marks.
- Water Moccasin: Usually a faded black or a dark shade of brown, it is between 1.20 m and 2.15 m in length. It is full-bodied and has slit-shaped pupils. It is found mostly in the southern United States, throughout Florida and the Mississippi region.
- Western Diamond Rattlesnake: It can reach 3 m in length and is known for its distinct pale yellow diamonds on its back. It is a rattlesnake, and therefore has a rattle at the tip of its tail that makes noise when shaken. It is found in the southern United States and parts of Mexico.
- Coral snake: Identifying it can be tricky, as it has characteristics in common with another species. It is found in the southern half of Brazil; in several countries in South and Central America; in the southern, western, and southwestern regions of the United States; and in Europe and Asia. It has a black head and a body covered with stripes whose colors follow a specific sequence: red, yellow, black and yellow. It is a venomous snake: if you see one, be careful.
- Jararaca: It reaches 1.6 m in length and has a brownish body, full of darker triangular spots. The front of the face is evenly colored brown, which helps it to camouflage. It is found between the coast of Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul, and inland to Uruguay.
- Cascavel: distributed throughout most of Latin America, from Brazil to Mexico. It can reach 1.5 m in length and has a brown body, all covered with dark lozenges and outlined by light scales.
- Horned snake: native to Portugal, the bluish-gray reptile has a dark zigzag back. It rarely exceeds 80 cm in length.
Step 2. Be very careful
Catching a snake by hand is not an easy task and should be done with great care. However, it is the only alternative when you are bereft of tools or a network. Use an object, such as a branch, to distract the snake and turn its head in the desired direction. Holding it firmly by the tail, lift the snake off the ground, leaving the front portion of its body still in contact with the ground. Keep your body and legs as far away from the reptile as you can. Transfer the snake to a pillowcase or cloth bag immediately.
If you know how to approach a snake safely, you can prevent the strike by grabbing it behind the head - a very risky maneuver. You will be safer if you use a tool, such as a snake-restraint tweezer, with which you can immobilize the reptile's head without approaching
Step 3. Wear gloves
In addition to the propensity to bite, snakes also harbor dangerous bacteria. Gloves are a way to prevent infections.
If there are no gloves, you will need to wash your hands thoroughly when you are finished dealing with touching the snake. Until your hands are washed, do not touch food or other people
- If there's even the slightest risk of being bitten, wear thick leather gloves, a material that the reptile's fangs may not be able to pierce through - but it should be noted that the possibility still exists. Furthermore, the gloves will considerably restrict the precision of your movements.
- It's possible to catch snakes without a distraction, but using one makes it easier and safer. The distraction also helps keep the snake's head pointed away from you, which is the position it needs to be in for it to be grabbed.
- If there is no area nearby to release the snake, place it in an old pillowcase and transport it to a suitable place. If you're going to travel by car, you'll need to remember to tie a tight knot in the mouth of the pillowcase, or you could end up with a snake wandering around inside the car!
- Treat these reptiles gently and avoid angering them. Snakes fear humans. Most of the time it is possible to drive them out of the backyard without even touching them.
- If you are going to raise the snake as a pet, always leave a heavy object on the terrarium cover or buy a terrarium model that has a lock or space for a padlock. Snakes are notable escapists.
- The techniques presented in this article should not be performed by children.
- It is normal for the snake to try to slide out of the hands of the person trying to catch it. There are even species that try to jump when caught. Keep your hands 25 to 30 cm apart and move them so that the snake alternates between them instead of dropping to the ground. Let it run through your fingers if you can.
- Do not kill the snake unless the situation demands it (for example, when there are children or pets directly threatened by it). If there is an alternative, contact an organization that captures the snake and reinsert it into the wild.
- Take a course in handling venomous snakes if you have recurring problems with them. Such courses are held across the globe, particularly in regions with a high snake population, such as Australia.
- Wash your hands thoroughly - snakes and other reptiles carry harmful bacteria. The risk of contamination is low, but it could lead to serious complications or even death.
- Avoid holding the snake by the base of the head, where it is very flexible. Catching her like that doesn't guarantee she won't bite you, which should inspire caution if it's a poisonous animal.
- The snake is a wild animal and, as such, reacts unpredictably when threatened - and its presence is more than enough reason for it to feel threatened. Don't be remiss when dealing with an animal like this.
- Don't just catch the snake by its tail, as most snakes are able to squirm quickly and bite you in the feet or pelvis. Support the front foot of the snake with a branch or similar object. If the situation forces you to hold it only by the tail, pick it up gently but firmly and keep it as far away from your body as possible.
- Any mistake can be fatal. When in doubt, don't take chances.
- Keeping snakes as pets is illegal in some parts of the world. Furthermore, there is a chance that the snake will refuse food in captivity and starve to death. It is worth remembering: after 30 days of captivity, the snake becomes unsuitable for life in the wild. Don't capture it if you're not really willing to keep it. Before making the decision, understand the commitment and responsibility involved in raising a reptile, which is a pecilothermic animal.