Should you handle a snake? How do you do it safely? What kinds of things should you keep in mind? How frequently should you handle your pet snake?
1. Don't handle a snake immediately after you buy it. Let it adjust to its new surroundings and its new owner. Snakes of all sorts are more aggressive when they're disoriented. It's just as important for a snake to be comfortable with you as it is for you to be comfortable with the snake.
2. Don't handle it too soon after you change its cage. Again, it needs time to adjust.
3. The first few times you take a snake out of its cage, it's generally a good idea to use a hook. Using hooks isn't as alarming to snakes.
4. Once it's comfortable with you, scoop the snake up with your open palm. Another effective method is to turn its cage on its side, allowing the snake to land on your hand. Once it's on your hand, allow it a couple minutes to adapt to the situation. Don't rush a snake.
5. Keep the snake away from other objects while you handle it. They may try to flee your hand and look to nearby objects for help. If you keep a snake in the middle of a room it will grow more used to you and relax a bit.
6. Know when the snake has had enough handling, as it can be exhausting for them. If a snake appears to constantly be on a mission to leave your hand or arm, you can let it jump from one hand to the other. Snakes wear out quickly, and this kind of behavior may be a sign that they're tired, so leave it alone for a while in its cage.
7. Every snake is different. Figure out the temperament of each one. Some will become attached to you immediately; for others, adaptation takes longer. Don't force your relationship with a snake.
8. Do not handle venomous snakes. Unless you are well versed in large snake behavior, leave these animals alone as they can be deadly to a novice.
9. Most snake handlers have been bitten. If you handle snakes for an extended period of time it will happen. With non-venomous snakes, a bite will hurt but most likely will not be lethal. Bites aren't necessarily painful, but can be slightly shocking. Perhaps wear protective gloves, if you are worried.