Conservation and wildlife educator, Laura Lux, demonstrates how to properly handle a non-venomous snake. The snake is this video is a Great Plains Ratsnake (Pantherophis emoryi).
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Picking up and handling a wild snake that is harmless to humans:
First, and foremost: NEVER, EVER, EVER PICK UP A SNAKE UNLESS YOU CAN POSITIVELY IDENTIFY IT AND ARE 100% SURE THAT IT IS HARMLESS TO HUMANS.
To handle a snake that is harmless to humans:
1.) Pick up the snake in the the middle of its body. Do not form a tight, closed fist around the snake’s body.
2.) Position your hands so that one is holding the “chest” of the snake and one is holding the “knees” of the snake. Do not form a tight fist around the snake or squeeze the snake, but hold the snake so that it is secure. Your goal is to stress the snake out as little as possible.
3.) Hold the snake away from your body to prevent a potential bite to the face.
The use of proper handling techniques is important to induce the least amount of stress on a snake as possible. However, it does not preclude the possibility of a bite. Biting is a normal defense mechanism for a snake to use when picked up by a terrifyingly enormous naked ape. However, proper handling=a less stressed snake=a significant reduction in the frequency and severity of bites.
If a non-venomous snake bites you, DON’T PANIC!!! You’re fine. Try not to pull your hand (or whatever body part was bitten) away from the snake’s mouth. Rather, wait for the snake to release its grip. Wash the bite area with soap and water, and continue on with life.
If you’re afraid of being bitten by a snake, then don’t pick a snake up.
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