Snake Handling Tips

If you keep snakes you will get bitten eventually. For instance your hatchling snake may strike out at you in the beginning, but will calm down with regular handling. Hatchling Corn Snakes, King Snakes, Rat Snakes and Milk Snakes will not even break the skin.  Juveniles of the larger species of Boas and Pythons will draw blood if they bite. Adult Corns Snakes, Rat Snakes, King Snakes and Milk Snakes will draw blood if they bite you. A bite from these snakes is not very painful, at least not to me. The bite will bleed quite a lot as constrictors have up to 140 re curved teeth. All that will be needed to treat the bite will be some anti bacterial cream and a plaster. A bite from a large Boa or Python may need stitches. The above applies to defensive bites. The other type of bite is a feeding bite. A feeding bite occurs when a snake confuses your hand for prey. A snake will smell the mice you have been handling and in the case of King Snakes and Milk Snakes, other reptiles you may have handled. The snake will then strike your hand and hold on, the snake may even start constricting your hand or arm. I have had my fair share of feeding bites. My Californian King Snake ended up with the tip of my pinkie finger in its mouth. I had to pull it off, not a pleasant thing to do with all those re curved teeth. I made a very stupid mistake recently, I put a defrosted rat in front of my Yellow Rat Snakes hide box using my bare hands and promptly had a 2 meter long snake attached to my hand. I got him off by pouring vinegar in his mouth. This may sound cruel but this is the best way to get a snake off your finger or hand. Most snake keepers will learn that hatchling snakes can be fed by hand but bigger ones need feeding tongs. Some snakes especially King Snakes will learn that every time the doors of the cage they can expect food and will try and bite you. The best way to stop this is to tap the snake gently on the snout with a snake hook, this will get the snake to realise that it is not being fed. Most captive snakes do not bite very often. Some species are more aggressive than others.  Individual snakes from the same species may have different temperaments.