A snake hook seems like a pretty straightforward tool, but that’s not the case. You must have heard stories about snakes not staying put on a snake hook or not offering you a safer distance from the defensive animal. Sometimes the tool slips from your hand or proves totally useless in front of a snake. Such complaints occur when you don’t know how to choose a snake hook and what factors to consider.
When you are about to shop, especially equipment like snake handling tools, you should know that one tool is not a jack of all trades. A tool as simple as a snake hook also has factors like type, length and tip style that vary according to the situation and type of snakes you plan to handle.
You will never mess up a snake situation if you know how to pick the right snake hook for your needs. I composed a simple buying guide to help people like you who are planning to purchase a good snake hook.
Types of Snake Hooks
Snake hooks are roughly divided into three categories. These are:
Small Snake Hooks
These are portable and space-efficient snake hooks ideal for hatchlings, juvenile and small pet snakes. They are best for scooping up snakes in confined spaces.
Collapsible Snake Hooks
A collapsible snake hook is also super portable as you can easily stack it in a carrying bag. These snake hooks are ideal for the transportation of snakes from one location to another. If you are planning to relocate your pet snake, your safe option is to get a well-built collapsible snake hook.
Standard Snake Hooks
These are heavy-duty snake hooks made of high-quality stainless steel. Their length can extend up to 46”. This one is the perfect equipment for handling all types of snakes, including larger ones. These are golf-style hooks, so you can tackle even a monstrous python with them. Professionals use such heavy-duty snake hooks for field use.
Hook style matters a lot because this is the part that lifts and balances the reptile’s body. You will find them either in “U”, “V” or “L” shapes. A V-shape hook puts you through a lot of trouble when dealing with a large snake. People with little to no experience usually prefer a U-shape hook because it works in a lot of scenarios. L-style hooks are often used for large snakes and pythons.
If you are picking a U-shape snake hook, make sure its U section is large enough to accommodate a decent-sized snake. Experience handlers who prefer to hook-and-tail a snake can work with any type of snake hook in the given scenario.
When you pick a snake hook, look for the tool with padding on the gripping end. Padded hooks offer a comfortable and slip-free grip. Therefore, the hook doesn’t shake in your hand or slip when handling a snake.
Most of us are not professional handlers, so getting a little close to a snake terrifies us. For this purpose, it is necessary to consider the length of the snake hook. Besides, it also determines the effectiveness of the tool.
The shaft of your hook should at least be 1m long – that’s a safe distance for handling a snake. Snake hooks smaller than 1m are suitable only for small captive snakes.
I’ll give you one example. An L-style snake hook with either 24” or 34” length is perfect for dealing with adult snakes. These also give you good leverage to flip larger rocks and stumps. Such long snake hooks are also used for herping by professionals and herpetologists.
A Tip: An extendable hook is better as you can adjust its length according to the size of the reptile you are planning to deal with.
What Size of Snake Hook is Best for You?
As the size, strength and weight of snake hooks vary, so you have to consider all three variables when selecting a snake hook.
- Super light/ feather light telescopic snake hooks ranging between 18cm to 68cm are safe for handling hatchlings and small snakes inside an enclosure. Just keep in mind that they are comparatively flimsy.
- A mini snake hook of around 30cm is suitable for tackling juvenile snakes in enclosures.
- Sturdy golf-style snake hooks made of stainless steel with aluminium hooks and lengths ranging between 60cm to 90cm are used for herping outdoors for large snakes and adult pythons.
Note: A local extractor once told me that snake hooks are best for scooping large and bulky snakes. Tiny snakes are hard to balance on a snake hook. You should pick a well-built pair of tongs for handling small and thinner snakes.
A snake hook is a handy tool because you never know when a snake comes in your path. It varies in size, strength and weight, just like snakes do. So, picking up the accurate one will make it easier for you to transport or remove a snake from your property. By picking a snake hook in light of the above-mentioned factors, you will be in a position to safely tackle a snake situation. In short, you will never complain of it being useless in time of need if you take into account the important factors when choosing a snake hook. And then comes how a snake hook work.