M-1 Series Snake Tongs

We live on the edge of canyon open space and celebrate sharing our ridge with the local wildlife, including the local Northern Pacific rattler. And a few times/year one of our rattlesnake neighbors curls up right next to the house and thus must be gently moved back out beyond our back fence into the open space.

Efficiency is crucial to this process, both for the sake of personal safety and to minimize the stress to the snake. And of course the right tools: snake tongs, a snake hook and a 5-gallon bucket with proper lid. (snake pros use a pillowcase or equivalent to bag their quarry; I prefer a bucket with nice thick plastic wall between me and my potentially unhappy guest)

My favorite tong/stick combo comes from Forestry Suppliers: the “Gentle Giant M-1 Series Collapsable Snake Tongs (SKU 81086) and Collapsable Snake Hook (SKU 81061). Both also come in collapsable and non-collapsable versions, but I find the collapsable versions easier to store at the ready.

The tongs come in either a 1-inch or 2-1/4 inch wide jaw. Unless you are dealing with very large and heavy snakes, get the 1-inch version, as trying to capture a smaller (5 ft long or less) snake with the wide jaws risks the snake being able to wriggle free in the jaws. Not a good thing when you are on the other end of the stick.

Also one can get either a 40-inch or 52-inch lengths: for our mostly mellow and not-so-big California rattlers, 40-inches is plenty, especially as the longer the tong, the harder it is to manage when one actually has a snake on the end. If I lived in Texas or New Mexico, where the rattlers are bigger and more nasty-tempered, I’d probably get the longer tongs. (Well, actually, I’d just run in the opposite direction.)

-- Paul Saffo  

Available from Amazon