HOW TO HOLD A SNAKE
yes, a snake.
1. Um, it’s pretty common sense. Get some HELP people. If the snake is over 6 feet long, you’ll need another person there for sure. Many deaths and injuries are caused by a person trying to handle a large snake; if the snake gets scared, it may constrict, and you will need someone else to help get it off. If you’re smaller than average in stature, don’t even handle a 4-5 ft snake on your own.
2. So you wanna wash your hands before handling your snake. If you have scents on you that the snake may mistake for food smells, you could get a feeding response. (Uh Oh!) Snakes are not very bright and if your hand smells like your pet kitty then it may think it is a juicy tasty CAT.
3. Announce your presence. SCREAM if you gotta! Whatever you do you don’t want to surprise the snake when you reach in to pick it up, so use a combination of sound and touch to let the snake know you’re there. Gently tap the cage and look for a tongue flick to indicate that the snake senses something. Then touch the snake’s body gently (not the head).
4. This also ensures that the snake is awake. The best time to handle a snake is during a time of day when it is lethargic…sleepy eyes let you know it ; )
*TIP* Avoid handling a snake that’s just eaten or is about to shed.
5. Lift the snake. Slip one hand about 1/3 of the way down the snake’s body and begin to lift it up slowly. Put your other hand under the last 1/4 of the snake to support its weight fully. If it’s a constrictor snake, it’s likely wrap its tail around your wrist and forearm; let it do this. Just make sure it doesn’t coil around both hands, your neck, or your chest.
6. As you’re holding the snake, you can move around, just move slowly to avoid startling it. Stay calm and relaxed. Snakes like warm places so they might like to crawl under and around your shirt, it’ll be ok though. If your snake attempt to crawl onto a part of your body where you do not want it to go, or if it attempts to climb off of you, gently slide your hand under the snake and reposition its body till you feel fine again.
7. Keep the petting session short. Snakes are not social animals. A snake sees petting differently than dogs and cats. Prolonged handling can be stressful to them. Keep your petting sessions to 10-30 minutes a day. If you hold the snake too much it will get stressed.
8. Return your snake to its cage by slowly lowering it in. Let it move out of your hands to a branch or the cage on its own. Secure the lid when you are done, since snakes can be great escape artists.
9. Wash your hands again. Reptiles can carry germs that are not safe for humans. Immediately wash your hands when you are done handling your snake.