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From Twitter 03-29-2011 [Mar. 30th, 2011|03:01 am]

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[User Picture]From: danceswthcobras
2011-03-30 08:11 pm (UTC)
You will find useful guidelines for dealing with naughty little buzzworms here: http://www.snakegetters.com/class/index.html

This said, C. atrox is one of my least favorite venomous snakes to work with. The only species I like even less as veterinary patients or research subjects are pygmy rattlers, Echis and the other teeny little vipers with belligerent attitudes that outmatch their size. From an evolutionary POV it makes sense that the wee ones are also the nasty ones, and my experience definitely bears this out.

The larger rattlesnake species handle a lot more easily, and generally I would much rather work almost any elapid including an adult mamba or king cobra than a naughty wee viper of the bad-attitude subset. For that matter a giant fer-de-lance or bushmaster or Gaboon viper is a perfectly fine patient; it's the pygmy rattlers and WDB's that are a veterinary nightmare. The buggers don't sit a snake hook very well and they don't habituate to human handling easily like their Eastern counterparts, making them No Fun to keep around. Had a dozen-odd in my facility at one point, and noisier little brats I've never raised.

I rarely use physical restraint methods to handle any snake, preferring hook-and-tail or behavioral management methods of protected contact. But atrox get the tongs, as a general rule, because they just aren't manageable otherwise. I use Gentle Giant tongs from Midwest, further padded by rug runner glued to the tong jaws.

This said, they're still just wee little crotalids. Physically getting the better of them for safely moving them about is a pretty trivial exercise, and it's even more trivial if you don't need to do hands-on procedures like venom collection or oral medication. Pick up a pair of tongs from http://www.tongs.com and you've got them managed - but please be gentle and careful; it is very very easy to cause them intense pain and damage with most models of tongs if they are lifted all the way off the ground.
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[User Picture]From: e_moon60
2011-03-30 09:16 pm (UTC)
I have no intention of getting close to them on purpose to move them around. And I don't try to handle the non-venomous ones, either, unless they get in the house (I had to persuade an upset Texas Rat Snake, already partway into the kitchen, that it had to go outside. This involved a broom and lot of angst from both of us, but it made it outside OK.) I actually like a lot of our snakes (and am sad to report that we lost a young western coachwhip last night--my husband found it on the land, very messed up and with its head gone. Coyote? Dogpack? Coon? Don't know. It had been hanging around where he's building a new rain barn--he spotted it yesterday in a lumber stack and (of course) let it alone. But today--dead snake. Not by us.

If I meet a rattler on the trail...I go away until it moves off, or take another trail. If I'm on the tractor, I drive on and it either moves or doesn't (they nearly always move--the tractor makes a lot of "I'm big and heavy" vibration.) But try to handle one? No. Not me. Nuh-uh.
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