What tools do I need to have when owning a snake? What can I buy to prevent snake mites? These are a couple of common questions both new and experienced snake owners are sometimes asking themselves.
To address this we have created a list of the 10 best snake tools to have as an owner. They cover feeding, cleaning, handling, and more.
Snake Tools (A Video Guide)
1. Snake Hook
Even if your snake is friendly, having a snake hook is handy. Your snake might be in feeding mode or just having an off day and having a hook will allow you to keep a safe distance, or at least to let them know you are going to handle them.
To get them to understand that you are going to handle them you can just give your snake a gentle rub or tap with the snake hook shortly before handling it.
This just lets it know in advance it is going to be handled. Snakes will usually make the connection between being touched with the snake hook and being handled shortly after quite easily and it will get it out of feeding mode if it is in it.
Another use for a hook is you can use it to open up the bin if you are using a rack system.
The hook shown in the video is a medium sized snake hook and will work pretty universally for most snakes. There are of course larger versions available if you have a larger breed.
If you have a smaller snake you can get a smaller hook like the telescoping one featured above, and of course there are plenty of other options available on the market too.
2. Feeding Tongs
Feeding tongs are a great substitute to using your hand as compared to dangling the rat by the tail. Dangling the rat by the tail puts you at risk for being bitten, since the snake is going to try to grab its food.
One other perk to using feeding tongs is that you keep your hands clean too.
There are different size tongs available, but the standard size will work for most pet snakes. If you have a larger snake like a boa constrictor, burmese python, or reticulated python then you could get a larger set of tongs to keep you at a safer distance.
Having a good thermometer is important, and we would recommend using a laser style one versus the type you stick on the tank. The reason for that is because the ones you stick on the tank tend to not be very accurate.
The issue with the stick on thermometer is they end up measuring the temperatures where they are placed, rather then where the snake is. This in turn is not accurate and puts your snake at risk.
With the laser type because you can easily measure the temperature of the substrate where the snake is to ensure the climate is maintained correctly.
Chlorhexidine is a cleaner safe for all pets. It is used by all veterinarians to disinfect their labs,tables, and tools. The bottle shown in the video is a concentrated one and needs to be diluted with water.
Since it is a concentrate it will last a very long time. The dilution rate is about 30 ml per gallon or about 2 tablespoons.
We would recommend diluting it and putting it in an empty spray bottle for ease of use. Make sure to use a clean and uncontaminated spray bottle for this to ensure the mixture isnt contaminated by other products (empty glass cleaner containers, etc).
This only applies to people who are breeding snakes. A 5ml syringe with a 16 gauge feeding needle
When breeding a female snake and if it gets egg bound the syringe can be filled up with mineral oil and then you can insert the feeding needle into the cloaca of the snake and press in a little bit of the mineral oil to help lubricate and to help her push the eggs out.
One thing to note is that it doesn’t mean you would need it every time, but it would be a good tool to keep on hand, just in case.
6. Mineral Oil
This goes with the syringe above, but is also handy for removing stuck shed. It can also help you remove a snake that gets trapped and stuck to something like tape or any other sticky surface.
Another simple thing we recommend is having a small dustpan. This will make cleaning out the snakes enclosure much easier, especially if it is a larger aquarium style. It will save you from having to awkwardly tilt and flip the tank around to empty it out.
8. Heat Pads
Keeping a few heat pads is great to keep on hand, just in case the power goes out. Since snakes are cold blooded, it is important that they have an external heat source.
Pay attention to the temperature as well because you won’t want your snake to come in direct contact with these pads. The best thing to do would just be to slide it underneath the enclosure.
You can then follow up with your laser thermometer and check the temperature ensuring it isn’t too hot.
9. Rid Bed Bug Spray (Provent-a-Mite alternative)
This is a reptile safe spray that will ensure your mite problem is under control. One thing to note here, as with any pesticide is that it is only safe when used correctly. Firstly remove your snake from the habitat and
then, make sure to follow the instructions listed on the can.
An alternative which is vouched for in the video is RID bed bug spray. According to its label it has the same ingredients and same mixture percentage as Provent-a-mite. It’s a great way to save a little money if you choose to go that route.
This is a reptile safe antibiotic ointment that is used for small cuts or bites. You can use this to help prevent infections in small wounds on most snakes.
Disclaimer: you should still take your snake to the vet for injuries that are concerning to ensure proper care is taken.