When dealing with snakes, you have to be very careful. Various tools are available in the market to help people handle snakes manually. A snake hook is one of those. Many of you, especially amateurs, might wonder how a snake hook works.
As the name suggests, the tool helps you immobilise and grasp a snake when needed. It’s a preferred weapon of herpetologists and snake owners for secure handling, capturing and moving of a snake – from one location to another.
We have dedicated this article to the working of snake hook. Its different types serve in different situations. Let’s learn how it can facilitate the handlers in snake situations without harming themselves and the serpent.
What is a Snake Hook & How Does it Work?
A snake hook is a tool for the safe manual tackling of snakes. The instrument seems simple, but it’s not. Several factors are at play here; we will shed light on them later. This thing is perfect for safely lifting and moving snakes from your property, especially venomous snakes, but only if you are experienced and comfortable handling live snakes. Inexperienced homeowners would rather die than touch a living snake.
If you examine the tool, you will see a straight rod with a curvy hook on one end. That hook slides under the body of a serpent to lift and move it from one location to another. Adult snakes are picked from between their bellies and necks for stability and balance. Seasoned handlers hold the python’s tail with the other hand to block its strikes. This is also a great way to help the snake acquire a more comfortable and stable position.
Note: It’s not fit for small snakes as they can easily slide off it and escape.
Types of Snake Hooks and Their Perfect Uses
As I mentioned earlier, a snake hook isn’t as simple a tool as you think. It varies in length, strength, weight and hook style. Thus, the use of each varies accordingly. Let’s briefly discuss the types and sizes of snake hooks and learn the perfect use of each.
Small Snake Hooks
Small snake hooks also come in various sizes and strengths. We have divided them into three sub-categories for your better understanding.
a). Lightweight Telescopic Snake Hook
It’s a super lightweight and space-efficient snake hook, comparatively flimsier than others. Its size range is 18cm – 68cm. It is perfect for scooping hatchlings inside enclosures.
b). Mini Snake Hook
This snake hook is around 30cm in size and features a stainless steel rod with an aluminium hook. This variant is ideal for handling juvenile snakes inside confined spaces.
c). Feather-light Snake Hook
This one is also made of a stainless steel shaft with an aluminium hook. Its size is 55cm, roughly. These hooks are perfect for lifting and moving small snakes inside enclosures.
Sturdy Snake Hooks
These are durable and large snake hooks designed for herping and field use. Again, we subdivided them into two groups to help you understand which one serves best in what situations.
a). Collapsible Snake Hooks
These are super portable snake hooks featuring stainless steel rods and aluminium hooks. They range between 60cm to 76cm in size. Due to their collapsible structure, one can easily accommodate them in a carrying bag. These snake hooks are best for lifting, relocating and resettling pet snakes, especially adult pythons.
b). Standard Snake Hooks
These heavy-duty snake hooks are super strong because they are built from premium-quality stainless steel. These golf-style snake hooks can extend up to 46” in length and are perfect for herping adult pythons and field use.
Key Uses/Advantages of Snake Hooks
Snake hooks are indispensable for the safety of both handlers and serpents. Below are some of the important uses and advantages of this snake-handling tool.
Snake hooks come in handy when you need to transfer snakes, both venomous and non-venomous, from one cage to another. You must have seen snake lovers keeping specimens of poisonous and non-poisonous snakes in their homes. This equipment proves handy for such people when they move the serpent to another enclosure to clean its cage. It also helps them hold the venomous reptile to collect its venom.
Snake hooks are invaluable for herpetologists and professional hunters. They spend a lot of field time searching for different species of snakes to learn their distinct traits. A snake hook comes in handy in such field use. Searchers can use it to brush aside dense vegetation or lift a rock or a log when looking for specimens. This practice helps them continue the search without bending over or shoving hands in spaces where snakes likely hide. That reduces the risk of getting bitten by a poisonous snake.
Handlers sometimes need to grasp a snake’s head for whatever reason. That requires secure handling of the reptile’s head from the back to block it from striking. Some snake hooks feature a flattened area near the hook part to aid in pinning the snake’s head down without injuring it. Such snake hooks are indispensable for circumstances when a handler has to safely and securely hold the head of a poisonous snake.
You have to capture a snake and keep it hostage for a certain period to study it. Herpetologists and professional hunters often use a hoop bag/snake bag alongside a snake hook for capturing a snake in the field. The instrument facilitates them in getting the desired serpent into the bag without wounding themselves or the specimen.
They keep the snake captive for some time and then release it back into the wild. The snake hook proves instrumental in this cycle of hunting, capturing, holding and releasing.
A Crucial Precautions: Whether you are a professional handler or an amateur homeowner, always wear protective gloves and boots when handling a snake with such tools to avoid bites. Also, pick a snake hook featuring a large shaft – that allows you to maintain at least a 3-feet distance from the prospective snake. That’s a safe distance to avoid getting bitten.
A snake hook is instrumental for the safe lifting, balancing, holding and transferring of a snake, be it venomous or non-venomous. The straight rod of the tool alongside a curvy – often U-shaped – head aids in the manual handling of the serpents. Whether you are an experienced handler or a herpetologist, this tool will serve you in diverse situations. You just have to know about the right category and the perfect use of the snake hook.