I attended a snake handler’s class at work today. We were first given an ‘awareness’ talk, followed by handling practices. Snake handling teacher showed us the steps, and we started from the most docile snake out of all he had today. All 4 snakes were venomous. Red-bellied black, Death adder, Tiger, and Eastern brown. He had 2 Tigers and 2 Eastern brown, so 9 of us each practiced putting those snakes in the bag, 6 times.
Ladies first, the teacher said. I did not feel like having a feminist argument with the snake handler who had crocodile teeth dangling from his neck, so I went first for the first couple of snakes. I practically placed the bag in front of the snake and gently re-located the snake from the grass into the snake sack, using a cane. These snakes hardly moved while I handled them.
Then others took their turns. The next person after me had the snake, the same snake, ‘run,’ and slip off the cane, and wiggle out of the bag, and everything else, before finally managing to contain the reptile with the teacher’s assistance. Somebody else started slowly next, but as soon as the snake flinched once, the rest turned into a race for her too. It went like that for a little while, and people started thinking. They thought my snakes were quiet because they were still asleep. So they wanted to go first.
I stood back and let the others go first. The 3rd snake still ‘ran’ and wiggled all it wanted. My turn came, the snake was let onto the short grass again, so I walked up slowly and simply lifted it back into the bag. I heard people sigh about this time. And the snake handler responded to it by saying that the snakes probably sensed the energy of the handler. Only difference was with the Eastern Brown snakes. They were more active, and I did not have a chance to lift them into the bag; they literally dived into the bag when I approached with the bag to face the snake.
Snake whisperer, somebody said. I don’t know if I was whispering, but I did ask those snakes a favour to keep still, so I could pick them up gently. I also asked the last 3 to move into the bag, out of 1, I had to nudge it with the cane and the other 2 dived right in. No technique required- just basic premises like ‘twisting the bag once the snake was contained, and using the clench to close the bag etc. I stopped as soon as the snake retracted, so it did not have to run from me. Because I did not aim to snatch them, they had no reason to get away from me. Maybe, or maybe not. But I walked away feeling that the snakes aren’t so different from any other living being on this planet.