How to Catch a Snake With a DIY Snake Catcher
Humane Snake Extermination
In rural areas of the U.S., there are important reasons for removing unwanted reptiles. Venomous snakes—like several varieties of rattlesnakes, water moccasins, copperheads, and coral snakes—may be a danger to your family, pets, and livestock. Some of these species are creatures of habit and will remain in the area as long as there is food available. Unless you wish to try to exterminate all of them, the best thing to do is to catch them and release them in a more isolated area. But how does one do this safely?
Although the classic “grab the snake behind the head” technique will work well, it is not favored by many people for the obvious reason: you have to get close to the snake before grabbing it, something most people are unwilling to do. So, for safe snake removal, you really need a snake catcher.
How to Make a Snake Catcher
This simple, easy-to-construct piece of snake equipment will allow you to safely and gently catch the snake and place it in a container for easy removal and transportation. It is also very inexpensive, so several may be made for various home and garden areas. Here in the country, we try to keep one in the back of the pick-up for easy access.
To construct the snake catcher you will need:
- a pipe of some sort: the pipe can be PVC, ¾ or 1” diameter in thickness, just as long as it is stiff enough to pick up the snake. The length of the pipe needs to be at least six feet long, although you may make it shorter if you aren’t afraid to get closer to the snake.
- a thick cord, usually nylon braided, approximately ¼“ thick.
- Drill a ¼” hole two feet from the bottom of the end of the pipe you have chosen for your snake catcher pole.
- Thread the cord through the pipe from the undrilled end all the way through to the drilled hole.
- Tie a firm knot in the cord to keep it from pulling out of the drilled hole.
- That's it; the snake catcher is finished. Now, catch a snake!
How to Use a Snake Catcher
To use the snake catcher effectively, you must leave enough slack in the cord to make a small loop at the drilled end of the pipe. By placing this loop over the snake's head and pulling the loose end of the cord through the pipe, you can control the reptile and place it in a container. A five-gallon plastic bucket with air holes in the lid works well.
Be very careful placing the lid on the bucket if the snake is venomous. A rattlesnake can strike from the bucket if he is very large. By loosening the loop on the catcher you can release the snake gently with little chance of harm to you or the snake. Be sure the lid on the bucket or other container is secure as you don’t want these guys slithering around in your car.
Snakes are very wonderful creatures and deserve their place here on earth along with the rest of us. They help control rodents that can become a problem. Please put these guys back in the wilderness where they can do their thing without interfering with your life. Don’t wait until you see a snake to build a catcher; it only takes a few minutes to construct one.
A Safe Way to Catch a Snake?
For those of us who have a snake problem in our area, it is important to carry the right equipment for capturing and relocating certain reptiles. Catching snakes, especially venomous species, may seem dangerous, and it is if you don't have the right catcher. Snake removal is necessary when a species becomes invasive and too prolific in the area.
Even though you may live in the city where venomous snakes are rare, it isn’t unusual to encounter them anywhere there are rodents to feed upon. The presence of these creatures may not bother you, but there are usually others who may “freak out” at the first sign of a small garter snake.
In this case, it is often better to remove the little guy to a safer locale—safer for them, not for the frightened humans.
How I Caught the First Canebrake Rattlesnake of the Season
Check out the video below to see my friend Russ catch a five-foot canebrake rattlesnake with our brand new snake catcher. This guy is the first catch of the season but will only be the first of many we encounter until cold weather forces them to den up until next spring.
This snake was not harmed and will be relocated away from my work area on the farm. This rattler is shedding his skin and has apparently lost most of its rattles. You can still hear the buzzing sound the rattles make when the rattlesnake is angry. This sound is not easily forgotten or ignored. Be careful and alert while attempting to capture any venomous snake.
Pay no attention to the minor swearing or the southern accent while the video is running! it comes with the job!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.