Before acting on your intention to harm and kill a wild animal, be sure that you do not have any other options but to kill it. If possible, move to a different location so that the snake can live uninterrupted. However, if you are with a large group or family or at your home, and you find a poisonous snake close to your loved ones, you may have no other choice but to kill it. Keep yourself and others safe while pursuing and killing the snake so that no one gets bitten and has to go to the hospital.
Things You'll Need
- Hiking pole
- Knife or machete
Tell other bystanders to move slowly and carefully away from the snake. If you there is already an appropriate distance between the snake and other people, it may be wiser not to alarm anyone else of the snake's presence due to the danger of other people getting too close.
Identify the poisonous snake. All poisonous snakes in North America are classified as pit vipers, except for the Coral Snake. Pit vipers have a thick, block-shaped head with an obvious neck segment; thick bodies; protruding, rough-looking scales and a pair of heat-sensitive pits on either side of their faces, which appear as nostrils. Coral Snakes have a black snout, a tail with bands of black and yellow and a pattern of red, yellow and black bands in that color-specific order. To identify Coral Snakes, remember the rhyme, "Red next to Yellow will kill a fellow." Other look-alike snakes have red snouts and red bands adjacent to black bands.
Approach the snake carefully with a hiking stick or a hiking pole. Quickly jam the pole or stick into the body segment between the head and the neck, breaking its spinal cord. Apply pressure to the stick or pole until the snake stops writhing and wriggling.
Cut off the snake's head with a knife or machete while holding the stick or pole to the back of the snake's neck. The snake will still be wriggling some even though it's dead. This is due to the snake's nervous system, which also continues to operate its jaw and fangs. Do not pick up the head with your hand as it can still bite you and inject its venom into your body.
Dig a hole at least 12 inches deep and bury the snake and its head. If possible, carry the head of the snake with a stick or shovel so that you do not have to touch it with your hands. Walk at least 300 feet outside of your camp if you are in the wilderness before burying the snake, as other predators may unbury the snake, leaving its head exposed for other members of your party to stumble upon.
- Bernard Plunket: Outward Bound Instructor
- University of FloridanDepartment of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation: Dealing with Snakes--Is It Venomous?
- Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Lifesize/Getty Images
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