08.25.2005 - Here I am seen holding a snake on a snake hook. The snake hook is a very handy herpetologist's tool. It's used for the safe and easy capture and transportation of snakes. It is most useful when it comes to venomous snakes, which one would not want to
risk handling by hand. The hook can be used in a variety of ways, but the most common is to simply scoop the snake up under its belly and lift it. The snake is draped over the hook, and it then has no leverage with the ground, and no space for peristalsis movement, and so its
pretty much just stuck hanging there. No, of course the snake is not impaled on the snake hook! For best results, scoop the snake up near the middle, or perhaps just slightly closer to the head. If you scoop it up too close to either the head or tail, the weight of the snake
will cause it to slide off. Snake hooks are best suited to larger and fatter snakes. Small and thin snakes don't tend to stay put on a snake hook very well.|
In addition to scooping the snake up, many snake handlers use the snake hook to gently pin the snake down to the ground, particularly near the head, and then carefully pick the snake up, immobilizing the head.
I find the snake hook a valuable tool in the field when I am performing snake searches and removals. It's been my tool of choice for handling larger and fatter snakes, where it excels over the gripping snake tongs.
By the way, isn't the above photograph lovely, with the pretty autumn flowers and the lovely Banded Water Snake? I think so. Snakes and flowers go hand in hand - get both for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day! And buy me a new snake hook while you're at it, one can never have enough of them.