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Thread: snake catching tools - West Australia

  1. #1
    Supporting Member desbromilow's Avatar
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    snake catching tools - West Australia

    A mentioned in another thread, I relocate snakes at work ,and in my local community. I have a kit of tools I use for this.

    Snake relocation equipment
    My kit consists of a few pieces of equipment…
    1) A 90L clip top plastic rubbish bin, with appropriate signage, a rope to secure the lid, and it stores some of my equipment.
    2) A deep v hook (I carry 2)
    3) A tong (I have 2 types - normal, and micro)
    4) A hoop bag
    5) Carry bag including appropriate first aid bandages (pressure immobilisation bandages)
    6) Miscellaneous “helps”
    snake catching tools - West Australia-hoop_n_toolbag.jpg
    snake catching tools - West Australia-bin_lid_tied.jpg

    The bin (item 1) and the tongs are commercially purchased. The tongs are reasonably expensive (in Australia) but are a valuable part of the catching technique which I was trained to. I salvaged and repaired one set of tongs, and purchased my other when I re-certified recently.
    The carry bag (item 5) was salvaged, but could easily be home made. This bag carries my hooks, my tongs, and the first aid bandages (never used - hopefully will stay that way)snake catching tools - West Australia-first_aid_plus.jpg
    Everything else is home made and the assorted pictures and sketches should explain how they were made.

    The hoop bag is essentially a frame made from 25 x 3mm (1” x 1/8”) mild steel flat bar, bent to shape, and bolted to a handle made from 25mm (1”) metal conduit (EMT). Overall the tool is 1300 mm long, so I made the handle “foldable” by constructing a joint which allows the handle to fold 180 degrees. In use, a sleeve of “next size up” conduit is slid down over the joint to keep the handle rigid. In a storage mode, the sleeve is pulled up away from the hoop, and the handle can then be folded to reduce the overall length of the tool to ~650mm.snake catching tools - West Australia-bag_joint_view.jpgsnake catching tools - West Australia-hoop_joint_open.jpgsnake catching tools - West Australia-hoop_joint_part.jpg
    Sketches SK 1, SK2, and SK 4 outline the concepts in the construction of the hoop bag tool, including how the bag is attached to the hoop. (Velcro is all “on the outside” so the snake cannot use it to gain traction, or catch scales)snake catching tools - West Australia-sk1-3_build.png
    snake catching tools - West Australia-sk4_joint.jpg

    SK 5 overviews the bag – made from double layer black drill cotton, and fitted with Velcro for attaching to the hoop. The bag is also sewn with double rolled hems (similar to jeans) and fitted with green loops at the base, and red ties at the top. The loops were sewn in with a forced "half twist" so they couldn't lay flat - this makes it easier to catch the loop with a hook in use. The traffic light colours remind me to be hand safe when there is a snake in the bag. “No skin to scale” is one of the golden rules in training – this includes if there is flexible/ permeable material between skin and scale.snake catching tools - West Australia-sk-5_hoopbag.png
    When stored, the hoop bag is folded on itself, and the loops and ties are used to secure it all as one tidy package.
    snake catching tools - West Australia-bag_laid_out.jpgsnake catching tools - West Australia-hoop_folded_tied.jpgsnake catching tools - West Australia-hoop_presented_veiw.jpg

    The v hook tool (aka deep V hook) is essentially a salvaged golf club, with the head sweated off the tapered shaft, and then a stiff wire hook attached. The heads of the golf clubs I‘ve found are all attached via a tapered socket which matches the taper of the shaft tubing, and some type of glue in the socket. Some gentle heat (yellow flame, not blue) and a tap from a hammer and the head falls off. I then make a shouldered sleeve (brass or steel) which is a light press fit in the end of the shaft, and has a bore to match the galvanized HD fencing wire I use for the hook (around 4mm). refer to SK 3 for overview. I press (thump) the sleeve into place, then centre punch the wire a few times in the first 30mm and then tap that into the bore of the sleeve. The centre pops deform the wire from a slip fit to a light press (hammer) fit. Then I bend the wire into the V shape and trim the length. I then hammer and file the end of the wire so it forms a flattened shallow ramp about 1mm (1/16”) at the smallest, with a rounded end. This is useful for getting under the snake without hurting it.snake catching tools - West Australia-v_hook_meas.jpg


    Other miscellaneous tools include;
    a) a couple of dark towels (one in the bin, and others is a carry bag) – the one in the bin is for the snake to hide under once it there – it makes them feel safe. The others in the carry bag is for blocking exit paths, or directing the snake
    b) A headlamp torch
    c) Can of generic flyspray – this has uses for encouraging a snake out from under a fridge, or other large obstacle
    d) Snake gaiters - protex makes gaiters which cover the lower leg for protection against fangs up to 18mm (~3/4”) in length. I made my own version using layers of yoga mat foam, backed with 3mm PVC sheeting. I rarely use these in a domestic relocation, but have used them for more rural relocations, or offered the use of them to “the helpful home owner which shows up wearing shorts”snake catching tools - West Australia-gaiters_open_guts.jpg


    Using the tools…
    NOTE this is NOT an attempt to train anyone on how to catch snakes – get trained by a professional – please. (they use real snakes, not pieces of rope )
    Method 1 (preferred by my trainer) get a head of the snake and use the hook to lift up the snake’s body at around the 1/3 of length mark. With your other hand, use the tongs to grab the body at the other 2/3 of length mark and fully suspend the snake in the air. Place the snake in the container (rubbish bin). Retract tools safely.snake catching tools - West Australia-method_1a.jpgsnake catching tools - West Australia-method_1.jpg

    Method 2 – hoop bag – place the bag so the hoop presents in the snake’s direction of travel and is open (hard against the ground). The snake will usually start to enter the bag, but may stop part way in. I light tap on the tail with the hook will encourage further movement. Once ~60% of the length is in the bag, lift the bag so the snake drops into the bottom of the bag. Use the hook in green loops to twist the suspended bag to close the top. Use the red ties to close the twisted bag – at NO POINT let the bag touch your body or hands – the snake could bite through the bag, and some venoms work via contact with skin.snake catching tools - West Australia-method_2_tap.jpg

    After releasing the snake/s at a safe location (away from people, livestock, etc) I will wash my tools to remove any venom, or other contaminants.

    if you have any questions about the tools, sing out.

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    baja (Jun 17, 2024), BuffaloJohn (Jun 10, 2024), Jon (Jun 10, 2024)

  3. #2
    Supporting Member Bony's Avatar
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    Many thanks indeed Des, a very comprehensive description that just makes me even more wary of snakes. I'm impressed at how fast they can move especially down hill on dry grass. It's scary to think you can die so easily by being careless about simply stepping over a log. I could never be a snake catcher, keep up the great work, and be safe! Thanks again.

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    Thanks desbromilow! We've added your Snake Catching Tools to our Miscellaneous category,
    as well as to your builder page: desbromilow's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:




  5. #4
    Supporting Member desbromilow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bony View Post
    Many thanks indeed Des, a very comprehensive description that just makes me even more wary of snakes. I'm impressed at how fast they can move especially down hill on dry grass. It's scary to think you can die so easily by being careless about simply stepping over a log. I could never be a snake catcher, keep up the great work, and be safe! Thanks again.
    yes - they can move fast, but after formal training, and some experience you do start to get a sense of how they fear, and what they do. The worst one I ever got was a local call, the wife had seen the snake enter the garden shed, and so she'd closed the door (so their dog wouldn't get it - vice versa), and then mentioned to the husband 3 days later. In the middle of a very hot summer, the steel was boiling hot, and it was 43 degrees at 6pm when they called me. I get there and we open the shed - he's wearing thongs (flip flops for our US cousins) and shorts - I'm in steel toe cap boots, jeans. his shed was full of junk, and we could see the snake was frantic and agitated. He INSISTED that it be caught and relocated - his dogs were in the yard going nuts, and he wouldn't put them in the house so I could work without them barking and trying to get in the way.
    Eventually I convinced the wife to take the dogs for a walk out front, and gave him my gaiters to put on - he had to stand near the door.
    I moved about 400 kg of junk and eventually had a clear path to the spot where the snake was hiding (dugite about 1.2m long).
    I put the bin down and set it up, and gave him the towel and strict instructions to pass it to me when I asked for it.
    I got the snake up in the hook and tong, and put it in the bin - it was trashing around scared/ furious and was winding around the hook
    As I'm unwinding it and trying to get it settled in the bin, he throws the towel past me and knocks the bin over.
    snake was gone in a flash, and belted past him and out the door and around the corner of the shed.

    I'd been there for over an hour - it was simply the most frustrating attempt ever because his fear made everything worse - we could have given the snake the option to leave under its own steam, and then put some measures in place to discourage it from returning.. but the owner knew best.

    I walked around the back of his shed to see where it went and there was a stack of rusted roofing iron there - he did not appreciate my suggestions about making his yard "less inviting"

    Most snake catches usually take around 5-20 mins, based on how easy it is to see the snake, and how complex the obstacles are ... smallest snake I've caught was a baby snake - about 4mm in diameter and about 200mm long (5/32" x 8") - biggest is around 50mm x 2.1m (2" x 7') but most are around the 35-40mm x 1.2-1.6m (say 1.5" x 5') range - mostly brown snakes at work, and browns/ dugites and tiger snakes near home.

    I did the training through work as an additional service/ duty (similar to first aid), and then offered the services to the local community. I don't get paid to do this, but locals will often offer a few dollars to cover petrol costs.
    Last edited by desbromilow; Jun 9, 2024 at 04:45 PM. Reason: typos

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    Supporting Member Floradawg's Avatar
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    Be careful with those fierce snakes. From what I've heard they are the most dangerous in the world. Do you have those in your area?
    Stupid is forever, ignorance can be fixed.

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    I live in the outer suburbs, and only occasionally a snake may enter a house to seek warmth where they're often found under the fridge. Snakes are often seen in the countryside especially during summer. I've seen as many as 5 in a day when I've been collecting firewood in the bush. It's said they're for scared of us that we are of them. I remain to be convinced.

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    My wife doesn't see well so shakes in the yard or near the house or my shop are not welcome between our 4 dogs a flock of guineas and uncountable barn cats it has pretty much become a snake free zone, any that get past the dogs, cats or guineas get hung on the fence for any passing Peta folks to see
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    Supporting Member desbromilow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Floradawg View Post
    Be careful with those fierce snakes. From what I've heard they are the most dangerous in the world. Do you have those in your area?
    I live in a semi rural area (village) and surrounded by farmland and bush. The calls I get near my house is predominantly brown snakes and dugites, tiger snakes (wetter areas) and a very occasional copper head, or death adder. We also have the occasional python (carpet snakes)
    Not long after I was trained up I got a call to relocate a "baby crocodile" I got there to find it was actually a blue tongue lizard - the guy who called was a immigrant who didn't know the local wildlife, so actually thought it was a real crocodile.
    Blue tongues and bobtails/ shinglebacks are lovely to relocate, and quite cute. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue-tongued_skink and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiliqua_rugosa


    I work up north WA (Pilbara) and the snakes in that area are a mix of brown snakes, taipans, and pythons. There are tonnes of lizards of all sizes up north, but people generally adopt a "live and let live" attitude with them since they don't pose a threat, or creat fear the way snakes do. The lizards range from 150mm long dragon lizards (ta - ta lizards, and "noddies") up to 1.5m (5') long sand goannas (locally called "bung-arrows")



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    Last edited by desbromilow; Jun 12, 2024 at 05:27 PM.

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