Josh Ruffell is an animal trainer and consultant who works with various clients throughout the Los Angeles, California, region. A reptile expert, Josh Ruffell has worked with and handled a myriad of reptile species, around the globe.
Whether an individual needs to handle a pet snake or has a wild snake in the backyard, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind. For reptile owners, a snake hook can be an invaluable tool in picking up and handling snakes. Hooks are especially effective when it comes to handling irritable or aggressive snakes, and picking up an active, mobile snake.
In order to avoid physically harming a snake when handling it, individuals are advised to support as much of the body as possible. It can help to hold the snake near the mid-section, using both hands to support a non venomous species, or potentially using two hooks for a venomous species. Snake owners should never pick up a snake too close to the head, as many snakes are sensitive in this area and may find it uncomfortable. Similarly, a snake picked up by the tip of the tail is likely to thrash about, possibly injuring itself and the handler.
Individuals are almost always better off not interacting with wild snakes, especially If the snake is unidentifiable or known to be venomous. Non venomous snakes should still be treated with caution and respect and, again, are best left alone. Wild snakes should only be handled by a trained professional.
In 2016, Josh Ruffell returned to the movie and television industry as a freelance animal trainer with companies including Jules Sylvesters Reptile Rentals, Inc., a leading provider of animal talent for television and film productions. A seasoned professional, Josh Ruffell is a reptile expert and has extensive experience handling a multitude of venomous and non-venomous snakes.
Although reptile handlers at the zoo pick up snakes with ease, it can be a daunting task for those who have never handled a snake before. Here are three tips to consider when handling a pet snake.
1. Wash your hands. Good hygiene is extremely important when handling any pet, and snakes are no different. Snakes are known to have acute sensory organs. In addition to eliminating prey scents from your hands, cleaning your hands decreases the likelihood of introducing germs, bacteria, or parasites to the snake.
2. Provide broad support. When picking up a snake, it is important to support as much of its body as possible, concentrating primarily on the middle of the body. Avoid touching or restraining the movement of its head, which may signal that you are a predator. Similarly, avoid picking it up by the tail, which may cause it to thrash around and injure itself.
3. Act with confidence. Even if you are uncomfortable, you should handle your snake with smooth, decisive movements. Jerky or hesitant motions can cause the snake to become restless.