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Snake Gloves, handling

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timbadger View Drop Down
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    Posted: 05 Jan 2006 at 4:59am

Hi there i was looking to draw on your experiences when it comes to handling adders, more particularly the gloves that people use.

My present company have invested in very expensive snake gloves from the states, my issue is that these are not only are these costly to replace (they only lasted 2 seasons of translocation), but more importantly are bulky and difficult to catch things with and then hard to tell how much pressure is being exerted. Previously i had been using welding gloves which i believe to be think enough and understand that this is pritty much the norm.

I'd appreciate any thoughts on the matter

 

:-)

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2006 at 5:41am

Hi Tim,

The real risk I find is unseen adders in the undergrowth when you are lifting artificial refugia. I agree gloves tend to give no feel and it is easy to loose an adder that slips through gloved hands.

My way around this is to use one leather gardening gauntlet on my left hand. I use the gloved hand to lift the refugia, thus avoiding the risk of cuts from tins and strikes from hidden adder in the undergrowth, the other hand is bare ready to tail adult adders if they are under the tin. I also carry a small very light snake hook in my bucket, useful to get control of the head if an adult adder is coiled under refugia and encourage it to move away from you ready for tailing with the unprotected hand.

I find juveniles more tricky to handle, again the single gloved hand is useful as it can be used to smother the poor little thing whilst the other hand finds somewhere safe to grip for the capture. Usually when lightly covered in this way they sit still. Sometimes it is possible to scoop up a juvenile in the gloved hand and tranfer it to a container immediately.

Adult adders out in the open can be handled quite safely without gloves, its just a matter of knowing how really. For example if you tail an adult, keep the front part of its body on the ground, it will then tend to try to make its way off rather than attempt to bite, in this way they can be controlled and then when your ready lifted swiftly into a bucket or bag.

I would recommend if you have any doubts at all about handling adder to meet up with a forum member in your area more experienced at  handling them to go through the basics, it works wonders for your confidence.



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timbadger View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timbadger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2006 at 8:37am

All good advice gemma and thanks for the input, the interesting thing for me in your reply was that you use a gardening gauntlet. My aim of the post was to see what people do use for protection not really getting advice on how to actualy handle them. I apreciate that i was not clear on this point. The issue is one of Health and safety, where the company feel that without providing specialist equipment for use with venemouse animals they are at risk in terms of insurance and legal action. Im trying to find out what the standard is, since i know of no other consultancies who have these useless gloves imposed on them  

Also i wanted to check that i was corect in feeling that welding gloves are adequate for the task since ive never had one actually bite the glove (to the best of my knowlage).

Just to clarify the gloves which we are being told to use have a thick suade erm. coller which come up to your armpit, have thick pading are, i belive 'Rattler proof' being around 3mm thick. Strangely they have very short fingers  which make them fit badly.

 

:-)

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2006 at 11:40am

Hi Tim,

Most people I know use, no gloves, motorcycle gloves, gardening gauntlets or welding gloves. This includes independent consultants and consultants working for large companies and specialist field workers. I've yet to hear of anyone with a bite through any of these materials, only of one case of a consultant bitten by an animal concealed in surrounding vegetation who was tagged on an unprotected finger.

If your talking about the monster gloves from companies such as Midwest, they are indeed useless for handling adder and were not designed for use with small vipers in the first place, perhaps this is a point worth raising with your company?

I'm not sure if there is a standard as such. When I fill out health and safety risk assessments for jobs I tend to put little mention of protective equipment for handling adder, only that the worker should have adequate training in the techniques involved and be aware of the potential symptoms of a bite and appropriate first aid. The use of gloves is in my mind a personal thing, each worker should use the methods and equipment they feel comfortable with when handling venomous snakes.

I wouldn't be at all happy if a company I was sub-contracted to insisted on me using a bulky 3mm thick glove, which in my opinion would act as more of a distraction and therefore have a negative impact on both my health and safety and the welfare of the animals being captured! Certainly large consultancies I have worked for in the past have not specified any particular equipment to use whilst capturing adder.

It is worth considering that adder only have a small gape, it isn't really so much a case of worrying about whether the fang would penetrate the glove material, more a case that if the glove is sufficiently bulky the snake won't get its mouth round it to embed a fang in your finger. Perhaps you can try this angle with your company?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2006 at 1:27pm

 

The use of gloves is really to give you confidence in picking up the snake. I often use ungloved hands to pick snakes up with a hook. The snake gloves from the states are vet gloves designed for handling larger animals. I have a pair which I use sometimes - I can use my fingers as a hook for the animal straight into a bucket or bag.

There is no standard for adder handling - there is no fail safe method all have risks. I remember that people have told me that a double glove is what researchers used in the 1970's - a light weight glove covered with a motorcycle gloves - over 500 adders were handled no bites - which was funny as the person then at his new home stepped on an adder in sandles while cutting a hedge....d'oh

Wouldnt the companies responsibility just be to give you the equipment to use and then it would be down to what techniques you use to collect adders - there are many ways of safely collecting adders (young and adult) as you will find that some situations may call for different actions - I used an old towel to pick up a neonate adder when I didnt expect to find the animal - I placed the towel over it and picked the whole thing up and placed it into my bucket.

Another method that I have found to be successful for neonates is 'tubing'. You can easily coax a neonate into a tube by using a gloved hand over it to clam it and then it can be offered a nice escape route into a tube - obtained from aquarium shops - once the snake is inside the tube then it can be deposited into a bucket or bag - the snake then escapes from the tube into the bag or bucket. I find that using gloves reduces your sensitivity and so injuries can occur to the small snake so this may help reduce this.

JC

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2006 at 1:29pm

 

PS adder fangs can penetrate arms and so the american gloves would be the only ones to protect from this - as the inside is apparently made from kevlar

JC

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2006 at 1:54pm

I used to use thick veterinary gloves for handling cats when I was vet nurse, much scarier beasts than adders when they are in a bad mood!

I guess hooking up grumpy adders with them might be worth a try. I usually find though that with a bare hand you actually feel more in control and the whole operation is less stressful for both the snake and the handler, I've found myself having to take a gauntlet off to get proper control of an adder before securing it in a bucket or bag.

Nice tip Jon regarding tubing neos.

PS thanks for giving me the confidence to handle adders again

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote timbadger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2006 at 3:27pm

The tip with the tubing is good many thanks.

Im glad that ive recieved the sort of answers that i hoped for, was starting to think that maybe i was not being reasonable with work, athough they are not moving about this claiming that its just something we have to do for the insurance. Im thinking its all getting very silly i cant use the gloves they are to hot in summer, distracting, irritating, reduce the efficiency of capture effort oh and did i mention expensive (hmm guese who had a nice day at work today) but know that if im 'discovered' not using them im in for an ear-full.

Ah well...

 

Many thanks i must say the responses ive had and speed that they have occured have been great, for this and other posts.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote -LAF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jan 2006 at 8:31am
It's a good question this one. I'll guess that the american gloves are the ones made by midwest custom products, which do indeed seem rattler proof. Which, let's face it, is probably overkill for an adder. I've seen the gardening /falconry type gauntlets demonstrated as effectively stopping a moderately sized adder with little problem. But then they're not made, and therefor not guarenteed, for this sort of work. Saying that, if it will stop a p***ed off Gyr falcon, I wouldn't worry about an adder. Ditto the veterinary gloves. The concern, I suppose, is that if a raptor or cat claw just manages to break the skin slightly, it's not a medical emergency, while with an adder it could be.

Given the choice, I'd take a decent snake hook out over a glove everytime. Tailing seems the simplest and least stressful method to me, and for close examination I don't think that anything yet devised beats tubing. Where gloves would look to be ideal is for quick examintaions where tubing would be overly laborious, or perhaps when presented with multiple adders under one tin where you wouldn't want to stick your hand in. But then everyone has their own preffered method of doing things.

Just some thoughts, Lee.

Lee Fairclough
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jan 2006 at 8:49am

 

The mid west gloves are just veterinary gloves - check the label - the gloves can be used effectively for catching adders - putting your hand over the animal to keep it still and then scooping the animal up with another hand.

Another way of catching adders would be to use a pillow or snake proofed bag - use a gloved hand inside the bag catch the snake and then pull your hand out of the bag turning it inside out the animal is then inside the bag - tie the bag up and place in a safe hard container - once the animal is calm you can then use a snake hook, tube to examine the snake take measurements etc and release

My record collection of adders was four under one tin plus a grass snake and two slowworms - a quick tail grap and drop into a bucket is what I used to get two adders at a time one in each hand while the cover object was held up by an assistant....

JC

 

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