Information

How to Safely Catch and Hold a Wild Lizard


Thomas is a reptile enthusiast who has cared for several varieties of lizards.

Catching and Handling Wild Reptiles

First of all, make sure that it's legal for you to catch a lizard in your particular area. What I would suggest doing is catching one or two, keeping and observing them for an hour or two, then letting them loose in the same place where you captured them.

Where I live in North Carolina, we have a lot of anoles and blue-tailed skinks. In their native habitat, anoles are a great natural pest control resource because they eat a lot of bugs. I like to put large, flat rocks with some room under them in my garden to encourage the local anoles to hang around and help manage my plants' pests. I also see blue-tailed skinks all the time. Both of these lizards can be captured with a small, butterfly-style net and kept temporarily in a 10-gallon tank with a mesh top for observation.

Lizards' Tails Can Fall or Break Off

Do not attempt to catch wild lizards with your hands. Lizards' small bodies are easily injured, and many species' tails detach when they are grabbed. Always use a net when attempting to capture wild reptiles.

Supplies for Catching and Containing a Wild Lizard

  1. A small butterfly net with which to catch the lizard
  2. A glass terrarium or other safe vessel in which to contain and observe the lizard
  3. Crickets or mealworms (if you would like to watch the lizard hunt while contained)
  4. A small, wet sponge for the lizard to drink from
  5. Artificial plants or other safe objects for the lizard to climb on and explore while contained

How To Safely Catch and Hold A Wild Lizard

While successfully catching and handling a wild lizard takes both time and luck, you can maximize your chances of doing so by using the following method.

1. Know Where to Look

You can find wild lizards along old wooden fences and around rocks, especially flat rocks. You'll also see them around porches on houses—especially here in North Carolina.

Be sure to use care when exploring rock formations and rock walls because snakes love to hide in crevices and sun themselves on flats just like lizards do. Watch where you step and where you reach—you don't want to walk up on a venomous snake and not know it's not there.

2. Prepare Your Cage and Bring it With You

Take your cage with you to the site where you plan to search for wild lizards. Before going out, stock it with the materials mentioned above so that you can contain a lizard as soon as it is captured.

3. Have Your Butterfly Net Ready

Have your butterfly net in your hand and watch for a wild lizard. When you see one, try to gently catch it inside your net, then carefully place it into your cage and quickly put the lid on. If you don't, it may escape. Remember, lizards' tails detach when grabbed firmly, so be gentle when attempting to place the lizard in the cage.

4. Determine What Species You've Caught

Having done your research on the reptiles that live in your area, determine what species of lizard you have caught. Feel free to catch multiple lizards, but do not put different species in the same container. If two lizards of the same species begin to fight in your container, gently remove one and release it.

5. Safely Handle the Specimen You've Caught

It is imperative that you use extreme care when holding wild lizards because they can quickly and easily become injured. You wouldn't believe how very easy it is to accidentally break their tails off. Lizards' tails will grow back with time, but they will never again be the beautiful specimen they once were.

Note: Both wild-caught and captive-bred lizards may bite. The bites of smaller lizards, while sometimes painful, are not usually dangerous. Some lizards like anoles may cling for some time after biting. Never attempt to shake a biting lizard off your finger, as this will likely cause it to become injured. Wash any bites thoroughly with antibacterial soap then bandage with a topical antibiotic like Neosporin.

6. Observe the Lizard for a Short Period of Time

Watch the lizard explore the features of the cage. A newly caught lizard may not move much at first but should begin to explore after a while. If you've stocked your container with crickets or mealworms, you may be able to watch the lizard hunt and eat if it is comfortable enough to do so in a captive environment.

7. Release the Lizard

After observing them for a short time (I recommend keeping wild-caught specimens for no more than two hours), release the lizard(s) back into the wild. Try to place them as close as possible to where they were collected. As always, be extremely gentle when handling them.

Should You Keep Wild Lizards as Pets?

You may want to catch a wild lizard in order to keep it as a pet, but for its own health and safety, I recommend catching a lizard, containing it, and observing it for one or two hours. After that, be sure to release it back into the wild.

If you want to keep lizards long-term, I suggest buying a couple of green anoles from your local pet shop. Purchased lizards are just as much fun as wild ones. I really enjoy keeping them.

I began keeping reptiles about forty years ago, and I've worked with everything from alligators to king cobras. Dangerous animals and venomous snakes should only be kept by professionals. It's one thing to keep a cage of green anoles, but it's something else entirely to keep venomous snakes and collect their venom. Never touch or mess with a venomous snake. If you see one, get away from it.

For now, please stick to lizards. I remember I first caught green anoles on my grandfather's farm here in North Carolina many many years ago. My Grandfather would only let me keep them for a day or two, and then I had to turn them loose. My Grandfather knew even way back then that green anoles loved to eat bugs.

Every little boy and girl should have the opportunity to keep pet lizards. You never know what they might learn from the experience or what they might grow up to be. If my child wanted to a lizard, I would be at my local pet store right now learning everything I could about caring for them. You could even plan a lizard-related project and involve your child's class. Maybe you're raising a future zookeeper or scientist. You just never know, do you?

Keeping Anoles as Pets

Green anoles can range from seven to nine inches long when they are grown. They can turn from green to brown, so they can easily blend in with much of their environment. Anoles are sometimes referred to as chameleons due to their ability to change color, but they are not chameleons.

Where to Purchase Anoles

Check out your local pet store and purchase one or two of these lizards for about $10 each. If you do purchase green anoles, please don't turn them loose. If you can't keep them, find a friend or pet shop that will take them from you.

What You Will Need for Your Lizard

Like other pets, anoles need special supplies and care to thrive in captivity. In addition to a safe enclosure, food, and clean water, anoles also have heating, lighting, temperature and humidity requirements.

Enclosure

You will need to get your lizard's cage or enclosure ready before you put them in. Only put lizards of the same species together. You can keep several Anoles in the same 20-gallon aquarium.

Humidity and Temperature

The humidity of a lizard enclosure needs to stay between 60–70 percent, and the temperature needs to be between 60–80 degrees. Don't let the temperature drop below 60 degrees. You can use an under-tank heater to keep the temperature where it needs to be.

Mist the cage or enclosure several times daily to keep the humidity up. For the health of your lizard, you need a thermometer and a humidity meter in the enclosure so you can keep an eye on the levels. If you like, you can create an artificial waterfall to keep the humidity up.

Lighting

A good UVB bulb needs to be turned on over your lizards' enclosure for 14 hours per day. This helps the lizards to synthesize vitamin D3. If you don't use a UVB bulb, you will reduce the length of your pets' lives and the vibrancy of their color.

Basking

Your anoles need a basking spot where they can sit to raise their internal temperature. Situate a basking rock below your heat lamp. Use a timer to keep the lamp on for 14 hours per day. Keep your heating pad on in case any of your lizards need to raise their temperature when their lamp is off.

Diet

Anoles' diets should be principally composed of crickets and mealworms. You need to dust the crickets and mealworms with a calcium supplement before you feed them to your anoles.

Substrate and Hides

Use a 70/30 sand and coco husk mixture as a substrate in the bottom of your lizards' cage or enclosure. Provide them with a couple of places to hide. These can be purchased at the pet store or constructed at home out of safe, natural materials.

Water

In addition to a large piece of sponge that must be kept wet at all times, you should also have a large water dish in the cage. Keep the water in the dish filled-up and clean all the time. I always use distilled bottled water because tap water contains chlorine, fluoride, and other additives

Thanks for Reading

I appreciate you being here and reading my article. I hope you've found this information helpful. If you have suggestions, tips, or comments you would like to post, feel free to comment below.

Please Vote In Our Poll.

Julia on July 30, 2020:

I have been feeding a brown anole trapped in my screened in porch for months. If I can get him out, will he be able to survive on his own???

Pony on April 14, 2020:

Can you tell us how to breed anoles? (

But not to much)

Boy I ain't tellin' nobody on April 13, 2020:

I've caught many blue bellied lizards and let them go in my neighbor hood so that I can have lizards near me. Then maybe someday see them again

Person on March 18, 2020:

If you catch a brown anole in Florida, please do not release it as they are invasive and very bad for the environment. Those you can take a try on keeping as pets, but they usually carry parasites that they have gained a immunity to so quarantine them before putting them with any wild caught specimens. Also, don't keep them in tiny tanks please.

Not telling you on February 14, 2018:

I love catching lizards and this time I wanted to do it right, so I looked it up, and I’m glad I did.

Nicole on March 23, 2016:

Thanx I looked up this website becouse I am going lizard hunting today

Josh Woods from United States on April 30, 2013:

Here in Georgia I see small lizards all of the time. When I was a kid I would catch them with my hands, and just like you warned about they would usually slip out and their tail would get broken off. I certainly wasn't worried about taking care of them then.

Now that I have a home of my own, I really enjoy having them around. We rarely get any bugs in our home, and I would have to say the lizards play a big part in that. I know I have seen blue tailed lizards around my home and green lizards too, but I don't know the species well. They like to hang around just beneath my siding on my foundation.

My Aussie-Lab mix, Boppy, likes to eat them, so I try to hold him back for a second when walking outside. If I don't I will look up to finds him slurping a lizard like spaghetti. I once found him with almost an entire swirl still alive with it’s tail hanging out of his mouth.

I love your idea to put flat rocks near your garden to encourage the lizards to hand around....natural pest control at its best. I think I’m going to pick up some flat rocks when I go to the creek this weekend. Hope it helps my garden out.

I also read your Hub https://hubpages.com/animals/How-to-Raise-Sea-Monk... and I mentioned how I would like to get sea monkeys for my daughter when she was old enough to enjoy them...well a lizard may be an even better idea. I never had much of a chance to have pets, but I want my little Sophia to have many. Did you raise a lot of animals growing up? If so what were your favorites?

Thanks for another awesome hub crazyhorsesghost, you're gonna have to stop keeping me up reading all night.


How to Catch a Lizard

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Catching lizards is definitely a tricky task because they are quick on their feet and great at finding hiding places. However, with a little patience, they can definitely be caught. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be absolutely gentle while catching them.

1. Using a ‘Fishing Pole’

This method might seem quite the challenging one, but it is known to work like a charm.

► Stick, 3 feet long
► Waxed dental floss

► Procure a stick (wooden or otherwise) that is at least 3 feet long.

► Next, measure out some waxed dental floss and tie it to one end of the stick.

► The floss should be at least as long as the stick in measurement or slightly longer.

► Turn the loose end of the floss into a noose by tying it into a slip knot.

► Your fishing stick is now ready.

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► Approach the lizard with very slow movements. In fact, approaching it from either sides, or the front will usually get the lizard motionless.

► This approach works best because the lizard will be more distracted by you approaching than paying attention to the stick.

► Slowly fit the noose over the lizard’s head such that it forms a loose noose.

► Once trapped, gently hold the lizard by its belly (not its head, limbs, or tail)―this will cause the lizard to become immobile.

2. Setting a Trap

This is one of the most effective ways to catch a lizard in the house.

► Lizard/Mouse trap
► Insect or fruit bait

► Buy a trap that is meant for lizards. If those are not available, you can even use a mouse trap effectively for this purpose. Make sure that the holes are not wide enough for the lizard to crawl through.

► Place bait in the trap. While mealworms and crickets work best, keeping them in one place can pose a problem. In which case, you can keep a piece of fruit like papaya, melon or mango in it.

► Once the lizard walks in through the trap door, the door will shut by itself and trap the lizard in.

► After which, you can safely take it outdoors and set it free.

3. Catching it With a Towel

This is one of the simplest methods that can be used. It does not require much and can be applied to catch a lizard with your hands.

► When you see a lizard on the floor, simply throw a towel over it.

► Make sure to use a very, very light towel for this purpose. You only want to capture the lizard, not crush it.

► The towel over the lizard will cause for it to become immobile and motionless, especially if it is not a nocturnal creature.

► Once motionless, you can gently place one hand over the towel and slowly lift it up.

► Place the second hand under the towel and turn it over so that it is on its back.

► Make sure that you do not use excessive force.

► Take the towel outdoors and set the lizard free.

4. Using a Bait and a Net

► Plastic container/jar
► Insect or fruit bait
► Net

► Place the bait inside the plastic box or jar and put the container in a place where lizards are usually seen to frequent.

► Placing live baits like crickets or flies will garner maximum attention. However, since it is not always possible to use live bait, you can use dead bait, or pieces of fruit as well.

► Once the lizard walks into the jar, cover the opening with a net.

► Then, shake the jar gently so that the lizard walks into the net.

► Then take the net and jar outside and set it free.

5. Using a Cup and Paper Sheet

This method works wonders if you need to capture a lizard that is on a flat, horizontal surface.

► Styrofoam cup
► Sheet of paper

► Approach the lizard from the side or the front so that it becomes motionless.

► Once it is sufficiently still, place the cup gently over the lizard such that it is trapped.

► Next, slide the sheet of paper under the cup so that the cup is sealed off.

► Then, gently, lift the cup up with the paper firmly under it and set the lizard free in the outdoors.

6. With Toilet Roll and Cushion Cover

► Toilet roll, empty
► Cushion cover
► Insect or fruit bait
► Net
► Tape
► String

► Lizards are usually seen scaling walls, so setting this trap against a wall will garner maximum results.

► With the help of a string, tie a cushion cover to one end of the empty toilet roll. Make sure that there is a little opening left into the cushion.

► Next, tape this apparatus onto the wall, placing the roll vertically, such that the cushion cover hangs down.

► If need be, place some bait on the toilet roll.

► When the lizard walks into the toilet roll, it will automatically make its way into the cushion cover.

► Once inside, the lizard will find it difficult to flee given that the opening of the cushion cover is quite narrow and the surface of cloth quite difficult to walk on.

► To further improve the chances of capturing the lizard, you can place a net over the toilet roll so that it cannot escape.

► Once it is captured, simply take the apparatus outside and set the lizard free.

7. With a Lamp

Did you know that lizards are easily attracted to the light that is emitted by lamps? Here’s how you use this apparatus to capture a lizard. This method works best when used at night.

► Lamp, low watt
► Towel/Cup + Paper sheet

► Turn off all the lights in the room and place the lamp on the floor, setting it on the lowest power.

► Be ready with either a towel or a cup and paper sheet to capture the lizard. Make sure you’re standing a little away from the lamp.

► Either of two things can happen―the lamp will attract insects, which in turn will draw the lizard to it, or, the heat radiating from the lamp will beckon the lizard to it.

► Once the lizard is in position, use either of the two methods and place a towel over it or a cup and then gently pick it up by its belly.

► Once captured, set the lizard free.

8. With a Cardboard Box

► Cardboard box
► Plastic wrap
► Insect or fruit bait

► Take a cardboard box and cover it completely with a plastic wrap, securing it firmly in place with the help of tape.

► Next, cut a slit in the plastic that is about 4 -5 inches long in the center of the box. Make sure the slit is not very wide.

► After which, place the bait over the slit.

► Once the lizard sees the bait, it will move onto the slit and slip in, but because the slit is very thin and centrally made, it will not be able to climb out of the box.

► Take the box out, cut open the plastic wrap and let the lizard scurry away.

While all these methods are known to bring about success, if you’re not confident about being able to handle the situation successfully, it is always better to seek professional help. This will ensure that the lizard is not harmed in any way.

Please Note:
This article does not endorse catching a lizard to keep for a pet or for recreation purposes. It only helps you with ways of how the lizard can be captured only to set it free.


Reptiles and Amphibians

Credit: CDC would like to thank Kristine Smith, DVM, Diplomate of the American College of Zoological Medicine, for her careful review of these pages.

Millions of households in the United States own at least one reptile or amphibian. Reptiles include turtles, lizards, and snakes, and amphibians include frogs, salamanders, and caecilians.

Reptile and amphibian owners should be aware that their pets can carry germs that make people sick. One important germ is Salmonella. Salmonella is normally in the digestive tract of healthy reptiles and amphibians, but it can cause infections in people who have contact with reptiles, amphibians, and their environments, including the water from terrariums or aquariums where they live.

If you decide that a reptile or amphibian is the right pet for you, it is very important that you learn how to properly take care of it and become aware of diseases that it might carry. With routine veterinary care and some simple habits, you can reduce your risk of getting sick from touching, petting, or owning a reptile or amphibian.

Salmonella is the most common disease associated with reptiles and amphibians that can cause human illness. See information about Salmonella and other diseases linked to reptiles and amphibians below.

People can become infected through open wounds or by drinking contaminated water. Young children and adults with weak immune systems are most commonly affected and may have diarrhea or blood infections.

Maintaining good water quality in aquariums, promptly removing dead fish, and practicing healthy habits, including hand washing, will reduce the risk of Aeromonas infection.

People can become infected with Mycobacterium marinum by having direct contact with infected animals or contaminated water (for example, contaminated ponds or aquariums). The most common sign of infection is development of a skin infection. In very rare cases, the bacteria can spread throughout the body systems. Infections progress slowly and may get better on their own. In some instances, antibiotics and surgical wound treatments are required to prevent deep infection.

People exposed to Salmonella may have diarrhea, vomiting, fever, or abdominal cramps. Infants, elderly persons, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely than others to develop severe illness.

Healthy habits

Healthy reptiles and amphibians can carry Salmonella and other germs that can make people sick. But there’s good news! You can keep yourself healthy around your pet reptiles and amphibians.

Reptiles and amphibians can carry germs that can make people sick, even when they appear healthy and clean. Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling reptiles and amphibians, and anything in the area where they live or roam such as their habitats, food, or equipment. Be sure to help children wash their hands properly. If soap and water are not readily available, use hand sanitizer immediately and wash hands thoroughly as soon as possible. Thoroughly washing your hands will help reduce your risk of getting sick from a disease spread to you by your pets.

  • Children younger than 5 years of age, people with weak immune systems, and adults older than 65 years of age should not handle or touch amphibians or reptiles or their environment because they are at a higher risk for serious illness and hospitalization from Salmonella
  • Don’t cross-contaminate! You don’t have to touch a reptile or amphibian to get sick from their germs. Be aware that any reptile food such as frozen or live rodents, equipment, and materials, including the tank water, can be contaminated with Salmonella and other germs.
  • Keep your reptiles and amphibians and their equipment out of the kitchen or anywhere in the home where food is prepared, stored, served, or consumed. Never use food-preparation areas to clean reptile and amphibian habitats or anything in their habitats. These items should be cleaned outside of your home. If you clean the habitat in the bathroom, thoroughly clean and disinfect the area right afterwards.
  • Prevent bites and scratches. Don’t kiss or bring reptiles or amphibians close to your face, as this may frighten them and increase your chances of being bitten.

Before choosing a pet reptile or amphibian

  • Reptiles and amphibians might not be right for your family because of their risk for spreading germs to people. This is particularly true if you have children under 5 years of age, adults over 65 years of age, or people with weak immune systems living in your household. People with weak immune systems may include people with an illness such as diabetes or HIV/AIDS, or those undergoing chemotherapy.

If you buy a pet turtle, only buy one with a shell longer than 4 inches from a trusted pet store.

  • Research and learn how to properly care for reptiles and amphibians before buying or adoption. Ask your veterinarian about the proper food, care, environment, and other requirements of the pet you are interested in adopting.
  • Don’t catch wild reptiles or amphibians and keep them as pets.
  • Don’t buy turtles less than 4 inches in length (about the size of a deck of cards or a cell phone). Federal law bans the sale of these small turtles external icon , even though they might be sold in souvenir shops and at roadside stands. If you want to have turtles as pets, buy turtles with shells longer than 4 inches from a trusted pet store.
  • Check state, local, and property laws before selecting or purchasing a reptile or amphibian. Some reptiles or amphibians may not be allowed in apartments or rental homes.

Housing your reptile or amphibian

  • It is important that you provide your reptile or amphibian with a safe, warm, and comfortable environment that has the appropriate humidity or moisture levels.
    • Reptiles and amphibians often have very specific requirements for their habitat.
    • Learning about proper management of your reptile or amphibian and taking good care of the animal can decrease your pet’s stress and chance of illness.
  • To prevent contamination, keep amphibians and reptiles out of kitchens and other areas where food and drinks are prepared, served, or consumed.
  • Do not allow reptiles or amphibians to roam freely throughout a home or living area. This keeps pets and people safer and healthier.
  • Do not allow pet reptiles and amphibians to interact with wild animals.
  • Be aware that reptile and amphibian habitats such as terrariums and aquariums can be contaminated with Salmonella and other germs.
    • Tanks, feeders, water containers, and other equipment or materials used when caring for amphibians and reptiles should be cleaned outside the home.
    • If you clean these items in the bathroom, thoroughly clean and disinfect the area right afterwards.

Monitor your pet’s health

  • Visit a veterinarian experienced in reptile and amphibian care (herpetology) for routine evaluation and care to keep your reptile or amphibian as healthy as possible. A veterinarian will not be able to prevent your reptile or amphibian from shedding Salmonella because Salmonella is a normal bacteria found in healthy reptiles and amphibians.
  • If your reptile or amphibian becomes sick or dies soon after purchase, take your pet to the veterinarian promptly and inform the pet store or breeder about the pet’s illness or death. Consider waiting before purchasing or adopting another pet. Do not use the habitat until it has been properly cleaned and disinfected.

What to do if you no longer want your pet reptile or amphibian

  • Do not release your pet outdoors. This isn’t good for the animal or for the environment. Most reptiles and amphibians released outdoors will die, and some grow to become a threat to natural wildlife populations.
  • Find a new home for your pet:
    • Consider giving your pet to another experienced reptile or amphibian owner.
    • Contact a nearby pet store for advice on rehoming your pet.
    • Contact a local pet rescue group to see if they can help rehome your pet.
    • Contact a local aquarium or zoo to see if they would accept your pet.

Bites and scratches from reptiles and amphibians

Not all reptiles have teeth, although bites from the ones that do can be very dangerous, some even venomous (venoms are poisons made by some animals). Reptiles without teeth, like most turtles, are still capable of painful bites. Don’t kiss or bring reptiles or amphibians close to your face, as this may frighten them and increase your chances of being bitten.

Bites from animals with teeth can be very dangerous because they can spread germs and other toxic substances from the mouth of the animal to the wound. See more information about how to respond to snake bites.

What to do if you are bitten or scratched by a reptile or amphibian

Germs can be spread from pet bites and scratches, even if the wound does not seem deep or serious. If you are bitten or scratched by a reptile or amphibian, you should:

  • Wash wounds with warm soapy water immediately.
  • Seek medical attention, especially if:
    • The animal appears sick.
    • The wound is serious.
    • The wound becomes red, painful, warm or swollen.
    • The animal is known to be venomous or produce toxic substances.

Ensure that the animal is seen by a veterinarian if it becomes sick or dies after biting a person.

Reptile and amphibian venoms

CDC does not recommend keeping venomous animals as pets or in household settings.

Venoms are a defense that reptiles and amphibians use to protect themselves from any potential dangers or harm in their environment.

Venomous animals can sometimes be easily identified by their bright colorations and markings, such as the poison dart frog and coral snake, although not all venomous animals are so easy to identify. Animals can transmit venoms through bites or through contact with their skin or saliva. For example, poison dart frogs are beautiful animals that excrete deadly toxins through their skin. It has been reported that one frog can produce enough toxin to kill 10 adults.

There are many different types of venomous reptiles and amphibians throughout the world. In the United States, there are only four native types of venomous snakes (coral snakes, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads) and one venomous lizard (the Gila monster), though non-native animals have found their way into the United States through the pet trade.

You should always consider the unpredictable nature of venomous animals and be aware that treating a bite from a venomous animal is difficult. Venoms are very toxic and can have severe and life-threatening effects. Vials of anti-venom, used to treat some bites, can cost hundreds of dollars and may not be available at community hospitals.

If you choose to keep or work with venomous animals, you should make a list of all the hospitals in your area that stock anti-venom for the types of animals you will be around. Put a list of those hospital phone numbers and addresses somewhere easily found, like on your refrigerator or near the animal’s habitat.

Learn more about venomous snakes, symptoms associated with snake bites, and first aid techniques.

What should I do if I have been bitten by a venomous animal or have gotten venom on my skin?

  • Seek immediate medical attention (even if the bite or area affected does not seem serious).
    • Call your healthcare provider as soon as possible so that they can prepare the anti-venom.
    • Tell your healthcare provider you were bitten by a venomous animal.
    • Be as clear as possible about the type, colors, and markings of the animal.
    • Remain as calm and still as possible until you can be treated by a healthcare provider.
  • The sooner you go to the hospital, the easier it will be for your health care provider to treat you and for you to recover.
  • Learn more about venomous snake bites and how to prevent them.

Brochures and posters

Selecting an Amphibian pdf icon external icon
Brochure, American Veterinary Medical Association

Selecting a Reptile external icon
Brochure, American Veterinary Medical Association

Safe Reptile Handling external icon
Poster Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council

Websites

Reptile and amphibian-associated outbreaks

Lizard-Associated Salmonellosis – Utah. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 1992 Aug 21 41(33):610-611.


How to Safely Catch a Snake

If you're looking for some cowboy celebrity stunt of grabbing snakes out of trees and so on, you're in the wrong place.

This guide works well in conjunction with the two other snake-related Instructables:
Snake (or Hook) Stick - which can be viewed here.
Snake Tube - which can be viewed here.

There are a few things to remember when dealing with snakes:

1) Snakes are not toys. Only catch a snake for qualified research purposes, or if you absolutely have to. Remember, it's stressful for the animal to be captured.
2) Start small. Don't try catching a 2-metre cobra on your first day out, you'll come off second best. Start with practising the wrist movements and techniques on a rubber snake or a thick piece of rope. The rope works well because if it's as thick as a snake, it reacts a little bit like one in terms of flexibility. Once you're confident in that, move onto a harmless species, and practise on it. Preferably use a specimen bred in captivity as opposed to a wild snake. Captive-breds are more used to human interaction and you'll therefore cause it less stress.
3) SNAKES ARE NOT TOYS.
4) Know your species. Pretty basic, but important. Know what snakes you're likely to encounter around your area, some are more aggressive than others etc etc etc.
5) SNAKES ARE NOT TOYS.
6) Focus on the snake. Don't answer your phone with a snake in the hand, again, you'll come off second best.

And this is probably the most important thing to remember when dealing with venomous snakes:
COMPLACENCY KILLS. Just because you've caught a hundred snakes successfully doesn't change anything.

Finally, this is obviously just a guide - I recommend attending a handling course or something similar where a professional can teach you face to face about dealing with snakes.


Never Squeeze, Shake, or Strike Your Bird

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Ryhor Bruyeu / Getty Images

Because birds are such highly specialized creatures built for flight, they have complex anatomy that makes them quite fragile as compared to other types of pets. When handling your bird, it's important to remember to always be as gentle as possible. Never squeeze your bird or hold it too firmly, even if he or she resists handling. Doing so could break one of your pet's bones, damage his or her internal organs, or worse. If it seems like the only way you can hold your bird is to keep a tight grasp on him, try practicing some bonding techniques that will help your pet enjoy being handled and accept it without fright or hesitation.


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