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REPTILE / fun & fashion

How to Charm a Snake

Snakes enjoy gentle handling from humans — but don’t force them on anyone who’s squeamish.


Tips for handling a snake

Wash your hands before handling your snake. Wash your hands again afterward, too. Pick it up gently, supporting it loosely but securely with your hands and arms. It’s never a good idea to bring a snake near your head or neck—snakes can find that gesture aggressive.

Younger snakes can be more active and twitchy than older ones when they’re handled. You may also notice that they emit a musky scent when you handle them. The odor is harmless (though all the more reason to wash up afterward), but it’s your snake’s reaction to feeling threatened. Once a snake grows accustomed to being held, the odor should stop.

Snake sssafety

PetSmart does not sell venomous snakes, but it is possible that even non-poisonous types might bite. In the unlikely event that this happens, wash your hands and the bite thoroughly, then apply antibiotic ointment.

Snakes aren’t always in the mood to be picked up. If yours is shedding or eating, picking it “upsies” may not be welcome.

You know that there’s a lot to love about snakes, but you are bound to meet people who don’t share your opinion. For the good of your fork-tongued friend, it’s best not to ask anyone who is uncomfortable with your pet to interact with it. (That’s a good rule of thumb for any kind of pet.)

Be especially careful that curious children understand how to touch your pet in a calm and soothing way.