A snake hook is the tool of choice for herpetologists. Hooks are useful when you encounter aggressive or venomous snakes. They allow you to pick up and move the snake while keeping it at a safe distance away from you.
Doc Seward and Midwest are the top snake hook brands. These hooks can be used for fieldwork and indoors. They have a solid construction, but aren’t too heavy to hold. ZooMed makes the most affordable snake hook, but it’s only suitable for dealing with small snakes.
In an encounter where the snake is hissing and aggressive, using a hook is recommended. The snake will be less stressed and aggravated if you lift it carefully with the hook rather than with your hands.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Why Are Snake Hooks Used?
- 1.1 Snake Hook Sizes + Recommendations
- 1.2 What’s the Best Snake Hook?
- 1.3 Snake Hook or Tongs?
- 1.4 How to Handle a Snake with a Hook
Why Are Snake Hooks Used?
Pet snakes can become cage aggressive, which is one of the main reasons why people get bitten by snakes. When you approach your snake’s vivarium, it may feel threatened due to the small amount of space available. A hook can be used to lift the snake without cage aggression occurring.
In the wild, you should never attempt to pick up a rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin, or coral snake with your hands. You shouldn’t try to pick up any wild snake. Using a hook allows you to move potentially venomous snakes out of the way without putting yourself in any danger.
Snake Hook Sizes + Recommendations
Our ratings reflect the quality of each of the hooks. However, the same high-quality hook isn’t suitable for every snake. All of these products can be bought on Amazon using these links:
|Snake||Why Is It the Best Snake Hook?|
|Juvenile Snakes:||ZooMed, is ideal for small snakes, and it’s inexpensive. It can be replaced with a more robust hook when the snake is larger.|
|Boa Constrictor:||Doc Seward, as boa constrictors grow to 6/7 feet long and can weigh 20-30lbs. You need the sturdiest hook you can get.|
|Ball Python:||Midwest, as it’s slightly shorter, but can still lift a 4lb adult ball python.|
|Corn Snake:||Corn snakes reach 4-6 feet, but only weigh 2lbs. A ZooMed hook would work well for a small specimen.|
|Venomous Snakes:||Doc Seward as these hooks are ideal for fieldwork or clearing venomous snakes away from your home or yard.|
What’s the Best Snake Hook?
Below are 5 of the best snake hooks. Some are there because of the price, while others are there because they are sturdy enough for any snake
ZooMed Basic Snake Hook
ZooMed’s collapsible snake hook is ideal for home use. It’s short, so you can use it easily in an enclosure. It can extend from 7 to 26 inches.
The best thing about this hook is the price. While other hooks cost between $30 and $50, ZooMed’s is much cheaper, at around $10. This reflects that this hook is intended for home use only, and only in limited situations.
It does the job when you want to lift a small adult or juvenile snake. Any snake over four feet or one inch wide would be too big.
|Price point||Flimsy when lifting heavier snakes|
|ZooMed is a respected brand||Not intended for field use|
|Extendable, which is useful for keeping snakes further away from you|
|Weighs under an ounce, so it’s easy to hold|
Doc Seward Copperhead Series
Field use hooks aren’t only intended to lift snakes. They are made to find snakes, too, by lifting rocks and roots, and checking under logs.
Field hooks have to be a lot stronger than cage-use hooks. Doc Seward’s snake hooks come in both cage length and field length size. This model is 43” long, and is built for field use, but can still be used at home if you like.
The hook itself is made of stainless steel. Stainless steel holds up better in the field than aluminum would. It doesn’t rust and can be easily cleaned. Adverts for the hooks state that they’re built to last for decades.
Steel is heavier than aluminum, but can still be lifted comfortably. The hook is balanced well so that you can reach out with it, but you won’t struggle to hold it. The manufacture of the hook also means that you can feel the snake’s movements and respond accordingly.
The handle has a rubber grip, the point of which is to provide purchase when you lift a heavy snake. It’s described as similar to a golf club. The original hooks manufactured by Doc Seward were modeled on a repurposed gold club that Mark Seward used to catch snakes.
|Can be used for almost any snake, even really heavy ones||More expensive to buy|
|Every hook is handmade by Mark Seward in the U.S.A||May be too long to use in a cage comfortably, but it depends on the size of your snake’s cage|
|As they’re made from copper and stainless steel, these hooks are built to last||The solid metal hook may be too wide for a juvenile snake, and could slip off|
|Quick responses and returns from the manufacturer|
Yomyray 53” Extendable Snake Hook
If you encounter a variety of snakes, you need a hook that suits them all. As some snakes are too long, a regular hook may not be long enough.
You could consider a solid construction hook that’s already long. However, this would then be awkward to use with smaller snakes. The solution is an expandable hook, like the Yomyray 53” Extendable Snake Hook.
This snake hook is made of aluminum alloy that can extend like a crutch to become longer or shorter. At its longest, the entire apparatus measures 53 inches. At its shortest, it measures 26 inches.
If anything, it looks like a walking stick. It has an ergonomic anti-skid handle which is comfortable to hold, as it is the rough shape of your hand. It also features a strap, preventing the hook from slipping or dropping.
The hook itself is like any other: a flat section of solid metal, curved back towards the body of the stick. The hook is wide enough that it can accommodate both large and small snakes.
|Can hook both long and short snakes||Extendable hooks aren’t as durable as the mechanism could break|
|Supports up to 4.5lbs||Not intended for field use|
|Can extend to hold dangerous snakes further away from you|
|Features a strap to prevent your hand loosening grip|
Midwest 40 Inch Standard Snake Hook
This Midwest snake hook is one of their basic range, but that’s a good thing. It’s a solid construction made from aluminum, which will hold up for a long time if cared for. It feels sturdy when held, like a golf club.
Like the Doc Seward hook, it has a rubber handle that offers a great grip even when handling big snakes. But unlike other brands, this one has rubber around the hook. This means that the snake can’t wriggle or slip.
From end to end, the hook is forty inches long. This places it right in the middle of other hooks in our range, so you should use it for medium-sized snakes. It’s small enough for home use, but could be used in the field too.
|Midwest is a trusted brand||More expensive|
|Long and sturdy enough for field use||Too long for home use|
|Sturdy, solid body construction with adequate grip, which makes handling big snakes easy|
IClover Snake Tongs and Hook Set
The IClover Snake Tongs and Hook Set includes both tongs and a hook.
The extendable hook can be extended from 11 inches to over 39 inches, and has a rubber handle. The hook is similar, with a rubber/metal handle for the grabber and a serrated clamp.
However, these tools aren’t intended for use with massive snakes. The hook is especially flimsy when extended and holding a heavy snake.
You should only consider this set for juvenile snakes or small adults. In fairness to IClover, they state that the hook can only be used for small snakes such as corn snakes, kingsnakes, rosy boas, ball pythons, green snakes, garter snakes, etc., and that it isn’t for large-sized snakes.
|Comes with both a hook and tongs, for the same price as you would pay for a hook||An unknown brand with few reviews|
|Lightweight, easy to hold, and has a rubber grip||Not for field use|
|Can only be used on small snakes|
Snake Hook or Tongs?
Snake tongs are similar took to snake hooks. They allow you to pick up the snake without using your hands. But instead of a hook, they have a claw that you pick the snake up with. A trigger activates the claw.
Snake hooks are best used for large snakes. It sits under the snake’s body to lift it, and it’s the snake’s weight that keeps them there. Large snakes hang down from the point of contact.
Snake hooks have a mechanism that can break under strain, albeit a lot of strain. Lifting a heavy snake could theoretically damage this mechanism. That doesn’t happen with a hook.
Short and light snakes can’t be easily lifted with a snake hook. That’s because they aren’t heavy enough to hang in place. They can more easily getaway. For these snakes, tongs are more suitable.
How to Handle a Snake with a Hook
Handling a snake with a hook is easy. The easiest method is to slide the hook gently under the snake’s belly and lift it slowly from the ground. Pick up the midpoint of the snake, as it would slide away.
The snake is essentially stuck. It can’t get any purchase on the hook so that it can move. It can’t shake or slide its way off the hook on its own, provided that you picked it up correctly.
You must act slowly. This keeps the snake in place as you lift it. If the snake were thrashing around or striking at you, lifting it would be difficult.
The other way of using the hook is to pin the snake to the ground. You place the curved end of the hook behind the snake’s head and push gently down. This stops them striking and moving and enables you to pick them up.