Question about holding hot snakes.

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Don Becker
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

Post by Don Becker »

Kelly Mc wrote:Way too many, huh. Like how many of them? And specifically because they didnt want to hurt the snake?
Well, when we want to show off how big of a snake we caught, we could just chop it's head off first, then hold it up next to ourselves to show how big it is when we post it on Facebook. We don't do that though, because we are worried about the snake right? So anyone handling a LIVE snake, really is more worried about the safety of the snake first :P

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Jeremy Westerman
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

Post by Jeremy Westerman »

Daryl Eby wrote: Here are some basic guidelines for field work. These are by no means comprehensive or binding -just my suggestions:
  • No contact: Most situations.
    Snake hook: Simple, short relocation (such as off the road) or repositioning (for talks or glamor photos).
    Snake tongs (often paired with hook): Short relocation or repositioning where greater control is needed.
    Snake hook or tongs and screw top bucket: Transport or short term holding, such as for relocation.
    Snake hook or tongs and clear tube: Maximum control for collecting field data or conducting lab work.
    Pinning and holding behind head: High risk handling. Sometimes required for venom collection or veterinary work.
This is a fantastic breakdown, I wish this was common public knowledge and required protocol for all facilities and field herpers. Thanks Daryl. Most people just don't realize how many professionals who have been doing things the old way for years eventually get bit with a pinned neck hold. Snakes can bite through their own jaw, walk a fang back or turn quickly or violently and get you. Pinning is dangerous for the snake as you can easily damage delicate vertebrae and dangerous for the handler as you can never be certain the snake is adequately restrained before you attempt to grab it. Some individuals have held thousands of snakes and have a great deal of experience before they get bit. If you have a death grip on the snake you are probably injuring it. There just isn't a good way to do this effectively and it is considered by most professionals to be "old school" and not a modern field technique. Modern ethical techniques involve maximizing safety for both snake and person and limiting disruption to wildlife as much as possible. In the lab setting most work is done by tongs and hooks, tubing or squeeze boxes or anesthesia. Very few besides professional venom extractors have any need to pin and restrain by a neck grab.

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gbin
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

Post by gbin »

It's good, but so long as it neglects a major aspect of many folks' field work - containment and transport for more than just short-term holding, i.e. COLLECTING - it falls far short of fantastic. ;)

Gerry

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jordo
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

Post by jordo »

mywan wrote:Even the nonvenomous snakes are usually pretty easy to get into a defensive, rather than escape, posture. Just block their escape a few times and they'll often pose quiet nicely for photos. Learning these behavioral modes and how to trigger them often makes it easy to make mean snakes look tame.
There are plenty of species, of elapids and other families, that I can't get to sit still for more than the second it takes for them to change direction. Thank god blind snakes aren't venomous...

Johnathan, that partially buried snake is a good find!

hellihooks
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

Post by hellihooks »

I wish I had had a bucket, several years ago... but had no plans on collecting anything. But... the guy I was herping with flipped his lifer Helli and had a camera that cost more than my car, and wanted to have a 'photo session'... so... 'old school' I coaxed the helli into a bag, and we headed to where it was safer to shoot. I got careless and caught a fang through the bag, in my index finger. No fun...10 vials of Crofab and 36 hrs in the ER... did some herping on the way home... :roll:

My point here is... you can NOT let your attention slip, for even a fraction of a second anywhere near a crote, or even while in crote habitat. And the most dangerous crote, is the one in the bag/cage/bucket, ect.

And... BTW... here's the 'hook' I have today, that a helli gave me in 76... and this is after 4 reconstructive surgeries. I think you can see 3 out of the 4 skin grafts... :|
Image
BARELY survived, and it altered the course of my life, and not for the better. In 75, as a senior in High School, my plans were to become a doctor, in this brand new field called 'genetic engineering' I was gonna cure cancer, mental retardation... you name it. But, largely due (I think) to the months of hospitalization, on a Morphine drip... I only made it through 3-3 1/2 years of Pre-med, before I decided it would be more fun to be a full-time drug addict... and did that for the next decade or so.
Took me till I was 30, to clean up my act and try to do something with my life, and although I earned my bachelors in Bio Psych several years ago... I'm now 55... and to old to be seriously considered for grad programs. I swing a hammer for a living, and spend my free time trying to keep young guys like you from ruining their lives, like I did, cause I wanted to mess with hots. think about it. jim

Edit... I in NO WAY hold ANYTHING against the guy I was with, when I caught the fang through the bag. Everything I did that day, I did of my own free will, and gladly. Getting tagged was wholly my fault, and Scott was literally a Lifesaver, in the hours that followed. :thumb:

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Daryl Eby
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

Post by Daryl Eby »

Jeremy Westerman wrote:This is a fantastic breakdown ...
Thanks Jeremy. Although, I need to agree with Gerry. It's a decent general guide, but I'm sure it leaves out LOTS of scenarios and appropriate techniques. The main key, was not the listing of options (really just some basic examples), but the suggestion to "select the least restrictive and least dangerous (for you and the snake) option that accomplishes the required task".

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azatrox
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

Post by azatrox »

"Also I have no legit reason to hold a venomous snake. Just the fact that I want to. I know the risks and the dangers involved. It is just something I choose to do."

"I agree that holding a hot snake is not wise or safe and that there is no reason why anyone should but it is just something that I want to do. I can't just look at a snake and not hold it."


James

I'm not going to sit here and try to convince you that handling hots with your bare hands is a bad idea...Plenty of folks have already tried, and if that message hasn't stuck (and I hope it has), then my adding to it accomplishes little (if anything at all).

I do however want to take another look at your reasoning for doing so in your own words...I read it, then read it again...James, for the life of me I can't follow it. Perhaps if you had some kind of viable, substantial reason to take the risk I could understand, but engaging in unnecessary, potentially life threatening behaviors purely because you "want to" is not how someone accomplishes their goal of milking snakes for a living.

I'll echo what others have said...finding, observing and photographing these creatures in the wild is MUCH more challenging AND rewarding than pinning them and picking them up because you just have to touch them. Hopefully, you'll see that one day.

In the meantime:

1) Start saving your cash (because it will disappear in a millisecond when you do actually take a bite).

2) Have your car keys always at the ready.

3) Don't go hiking in the boonies far away from hospitals.

4) Hope that you're not allergic to animal venoms.

And...for the rest of us...

5) When you DO wind up taking a bite PLEASE stay off the news....People that like snakes and other creepy crawlies get a bad enough rap as it is without the general public thinking we're all out pinning and playing with venomous snakes for no good reason.

PLEASE keep your ordeal as quiet and low key as possible so that those of us that wish to go out and observe and photo these creatures don't have to worry about being lumped in with those of us that can't seem to keep our hands where they belong.

Thanks!

-Kris

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jonathan
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

Post by jonathan »

Jeff wrote:
September 5th, 2012, 4:48 pm
I knew a guy who would pin and handle most venomous snakes that he encountered. We would get out of the car to shoo a cottonmouth off the road, and he would pin it and pick it up, look it over, then toss it off the road. He wasn't trying to impress anyone, just felt the need to put his hands on the snake, even though we had long-handled hooks His name was Joe Slowinski.

Your altruistic motive is admirable, and I recommend that your first move, before handling more venomous snakes, should be to locate a lab that will accept vials of your secretions. There are likely specific requirements about hygiene, safety protocols, and facility structure and equipment. I hope you are successful in your efforts -- someday you may indirectly save my life.

Last point: if you continue to handle copperheads and timbers by hand, you will get bit -- everyone does (four times for me).

So, good luck.

Jeff
Seeing this comment reminded me of talking to my sister-in-law some years back and she was telling me that her colleague was on the Burma expedition. He told her that several members had expressed concerns over Joe's overly risky (in their eyes) behavior earlier in the expedition and said to each other, "He's gonna get himself killed." That could just be the poor judgment of non-herpers speaking, but then again...

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Porter
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

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Porter
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

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Jeff
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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

Post by Jeff »

Seeing this comment reminded me of talking to my sister-in-law some years back and she was telling me that her colleague was on the Burma expedition. He told her that several members had expressed concerns over Joe's overly risky (in their eyes) behavior earlier in the expedition and said to each other, "He's gonna get himself killed." That could just be the poor judgment of non-herpers speaking, but then again...
After the trip that Joe was filmed by Nat Geo he told me that he was very uncomfortable with their insistence that he 're-do one take or another with the cobra', over and over, which eventually led to a mild or dry bite from a Naja mandalayensis. Joe was risky, but he had limits.

Jeff

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Re: Question about holding hot snakes.

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