How to Properly Handle Water Snakes

water snake

I’ve already mentioned that water snakes make interesting and good pets. Still, since they exist in the wild, they have instincts that cause them to be cautious of people, whether the snake came from a pet store or was caught out in the wild. It is a good thing that it isn’t at all difficult to hand tame these snakes or to handle them properly.

The snake breed

By using the term, ‘water snake,’ people should understand that this doesn’t mean all snakes that live in the water. Indeed, many snakes spend a great deal of their time in lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and even in the ocean. However, water snakes are those belonging to specific species. These snakes are occasionally known to bite but they seldom do, unless they are stressed and feel frightened, or when they are trying to protect themselves. Even when they do bite, the snake is harmless and shouldn’t be feared. True water snakes are docile animals.

The snake’s trust

As with nearly all wild animals, in order for water snakes to accept a person’s touch, the snakes need to build up some trust so they know that they aren’t going to be hurt. It can help a person to know that they don’t bite often, since the trust works both ways. Snakes have the ability to sense fear, just as many animals can, and fear can make them nervous. The first step is then to understand the snake and to not be afraid of it. Being around the snake can be helpful. A close second step is to do nothing at all that can be perceived as threatening to the reptile. This is a big key for hand-taming the creatures.

Handling the snake

To get the snake to trust a person and to tame it, the animal needs to be handled frequently so they can see that there is nothing to fear. Picking them up and holding them for a few minutes every day, or even a couple of times a day, is about the right frequency at first. This is also the best way for a person to lose their fear of the snake.

Knowing how to pick them up and hold them is important though, naturally. The snake should be picked up behind the head, with support immediately given part-way down the body with the other hand. Note that the snake should not be grasped by the head because they will usually become understandably defensive. There is a pretty good chance that you wouldn’t like to be held by the head, either.

The snake’s neck should not be squeezed, since this can cut off the air supply. Choking the critter doesn’t strengthen trust, usually.

Hand feeding the snake

Water snakes eat primarily fish, frogs and tadpoles. However, these aren’t always available, so they will take such things as worms. Dangling a live worm in front of the creature and allowing them to take it out of your hand is a great way to tame the snake and conquer any fear you might have. This shows the snake that you are a giver of food it can eat, without worrying about you.

Snake activity

The snake should be allowed to get used to movement by people and other pets around it, if there are any. This helps to calm the animal so they are more apt to become tame in less time. A calm voice or music can also help. These snakes can feel vibrations easily. They shouldn’t be subjected to loud or harsh noises though, as this can have the opposite result and can cause fright in the animal.

Water snakes actually hand-tame easily. A large part of encouraging the process along is common sense, yet it is also easy enough not to think about it. Taming a water snake can even be done out in the wild and not necessarily only with a pet in a tank. Some pet water snakes love to be held and will curl up in a lap if given a chance, even if the snake has only been in captivity for a few months. (Granted that not everyone likes the idea of having a snake curled up in their laps even if they are harmless, for instance, my friend Andria.) The taming really doesn’t take very long, if it is done properly.

 


 

 

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