Snake hooks help you handle aggressive snakes, or clear away dangerous snakes from your home or yard. But there are dozens of brands to choose from, which makes choosing one very confusing.
Selecting a snake hook is about meeting your snake’s needs. The highest quality hooks might not be suitable for a small snake, as they’re the wrong size. So, which snake hook is best for your snake?
- 1 Why Are Snake Hooks Used?
- 2 Snake Hook Sizes Based on Snake Type
- 3 What’s the Best Snake Hook?
- 4 Snake Hook or Tongs?
- 5 How to Handle a Snake with a Hook
- 6 Other Snake Handling Equipment
Why Are Snake Hooks Used?
Snake hooks are a multipurpose tool that enables you to avoid getting bitten. Snakes bite humans for several reasons. Hooks are especially useful for when you encounter dangerous or aggressive snakes. They allow you to pick the snake up, but keep them at a safe distance from you.
In the wild, the usefulness of a tool like this is obvious. When you come across a venomous snake (such as a rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin or coral snake), you should never pick it up. Using a hook allows you to move them out of the way without being in danger. You can either put them somewhere else, or bag them.
But they’re great for pet snakes too. Many snakes get cage aggressive, where they feel threatened in the small space of their cage when you approach. A hook lifts them out without this occurring. According to the BMJ, this is why people that keep venomous snakes are usually bitten.
Snake hooks are also better for the snake. In an encounter where the snake is aggressive, using a hook is best. The snake will be less stressed and aggressive if you lift them with the hook rather than your hands.
Snake hooks can also help move your pet around without picking them up fully. Say your pet snake is exploring somewhere that it might want to hide. You can partially pick it up and gently move it somewhere more secure.
Snake Hook Sizes Based on Snake Type
Our ratings (below) reflect the individual quality of each of the hooks. However, a high quality 10/10 hook won’t work with every snake. It could be too big, and a smaller hook would be more suitable.
You have to consider the snake species you’re working with. Below is a shortlist of which hooks are best for different types and sizes of snakes.
|Snake||Best Snake Hook + Reason Why|
|Juvenile Snakes:||ZooMed, because it’s more than adequate for small snakes, and it’s cheap. It can be replaced with a better hook when the snake grows larger.|
|Boa Constrictor:||Doc Seward, as boa constrictors grow to 6/7 feet (or more) 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 easily.|
|Corn Snake:||Corn snakes reach 4-6 feet, but only 2lbs. A ZooMed hook would work for a small specimen.|
|Carpet Python, Reticulated Python:||Doc Seward or Midwest. You should only use the largest hooks with the largest snakes. You may also need more than one!|
|Venomous Snakes (rattlesnake, copperhead, water moccasin or coral snake):||Doc Seward or Midwest, as these hooks are perfect for fieldwork clearing poisonous snakes away from your home, yard or garden.|
If you’re still not sure which hook would be right for you, do a little research on each. Alternatively, ask another snake owner or breeder for their recommendation.
What’s the Best Snake Hook?
There are dozens of models of snake hook available. You have to choose between brands, but there are also many models to choose from. Different sizes, different materials, and different prices all mean you have a lot to consider.
Below are the five best snake hooks. Some are on our list because of price, others because they can be used for any snake, and others because of their build quality.
ZooMed Basic Snake Hook
ZooMed make almost everything you could need for a pet snake. They make heat and lighting kits, substrate, day/night timers, thermometers, humidity gauges, and more. They also make a snake hook that can beat almost any other on price.
ZooMed’s collapsible snake hook is perfect for use at home. It’s short, unlike some of the others on our list, which means 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 on our list 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 applications.
Reviews for this hook are generally positive. It does the job when you want to lift a small adult or juvenile snake. It’s not intended for larger adult snakes. Any snake over four feet or one inch wide would be too big, and many reviews say as such.
|Very affordably priced||Reviews describe it as flimsy, especially when lifting heavier snakes|
|ZooMed is a well-known and respected brand||Not intended for field use|
|Extendable, which is useful for keeping particularly dangerous snakes further away from you|
|Perfect for inspecting cage furnishings and handling snakes|
|Weighs less than an ounce, which makes it easy to hold but flimsy compared to other entries on our list|
Doc Seward Copperhead Series
When you want to buy a snake hook, there are two kinds to consider: field use and cage use. 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.
As such, 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.
Something positive is that 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. Advertisements 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 to them.
The handle has a rubber grip, the point of which is to offer 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 the man himself (Mark Seward) used to catch snakes.
|Can be used with almost any snake, even really heavy ones||The quality of these hooks is reflected in the price, as they’re more expensive to buy|
|Every hook is handmade by Mark Seward in the U.S.A||It may be a little too long to use in a cage comfortably (but it depends on the size of your cage)|
|As they’re made from copper and stainless steel, these hooks will last even when used outdoors||The solid metal hook may be too wide for a juvenile snake, which could slip off|
|Returns are made quickly if a hook breaks|
|You can ask questions directly to the manufacturer and expect quick responses|
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. The snake could still strike you.
You could consider buying 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
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. Unlike the other hooks on our list, it also features a strap. This further prevents 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 effectively||Extendable hooks aren’t as durable, as the mechanism could break|
|Supports up to 4.5lbs||Only intended for home use, not for field use|
|Can extend to hold dangerous snakes further away from you when you handle them|
|Cheaper than the top models, but more expensive than ZooMed’s hook|
|Features a strap to prevent your hand loosening grip, unlike the other models in this list|
Midwest 40 Inch Standard Snake Hook
Midwest has been making snake products for decades. They were one of the first companies to make dedicated snake hooks for field use. Many of those first hooks are still in use today.
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 which offers 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 top brand in sturdy snake hooks, and has been trusted for decades||One of the more expensive hooks|
|Long and sturdy enough to be used in the field||Perhaps a little long to use at home, unless you have a large snake enclosure|
|Sturdy, solid body construction with adequate grip, which makes handling big snakes easy|
IClover Snake Tongs and Hook Set
One issue with other tools in our list is that you only get a hook with them. 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 especially is flimsy when extended and holding a heavy snake. The materials aren’t as robust as those in other hooks.
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 on its own||An unknown brand that doesn’t have as many reviews|
|Lightweight and easy to hold, with rubber grip||Not manufactured 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.
This method is more dangerous. For a novice, only the first method is relevant.
Other Snake Handling Equipment
Hooks aren’t all you need. There’s lots of other snake-handling equipment that you may benefit from. A similar tool that many people use are tongs. These are best for smaller snakes, and you don’t need them if you have a hook.
You may also want to buy a snake bag. These allow you to capture snakes and keep them somewhere comfortable while you transport them. You can also use one to take your snake to the vet.
However, if you only plan to use the hook at home, you likely don’t need anything else. Keeping snakes is expensive enough as it is.