Handling snakes takes steady hands, careful action, and the right tools for the job. While it’s always a good idea to call professionals, especially when dealing with a large venomous snake, for plenty of ranchers, farmers, or outdoorsmen this just isn’t an option.
When a large snake needs to be removed from an area, it’s time to grab a pair of quality snake hooks, some proper snake protection, and get the job done!
While we’re personally proponents of the hook and tongs method, there are plenty of professionals who prefer using just the hooks unless more is absolutely necessary. No matter what technique of safely catching snakes you use, you want to make sure you have strong, reliable equipment that won’t let you down.
This is true whether you’re working with a grumpy but large non-venomous snake or needing to move a large venomous snake from the area. Working with snakes correctly means good patience, good technique, and the right hook or hooks to allow you the control and the distance you need while moving a large snake from one point to another.
There are many snake hooks out there, and even if you don’t intend to interact with any snakes when out and about, it can be a very good tool to have on hand. This not only allows you to move any potential dangerous snake you stumble across but the hook can be used to move debris in the way where snakes might be hiding or moving some thorny branches to the side.
In other words it is a great hiking or stomping through the woods tool to have on you – in addition to being absolutely essential when it comes to handling potentially deadly snakes.
|Snake Hook||Brief Summary||Lengths||Editor's Rating|
DocSeward Snake Hook
|Without question the best top of the line snake tongs out there right now.||33 in & 43 in||10/10|
Tom's Reptile Supplies Standard Snake Hook
|Solid long snake hook option that holds up to testing.||40 in||9.5/10|
Midwest 40-inch Standard Snake Hook
|Made from the same company as above, an equally impressive snake hook.||40 in||9.5/10|
Forestry Suppliers Snake Hook
|Focusing on larger bodied snakes, great snake hook option if you have the arm strength.||44.5 in||9/10|
The Top 5 Snake Hooks
We are pleased to recommend 5 different snake hooks over other ones that are out on the market. Here is a listing of 5 top snakes hooks that you should consider purchasing (and we are continuing to search for more quality solutions):
So for a lot of articles you’ll hear things like “It’s hard to pick out a #1…” but in this case, it wasn’t. No disrespect to the other choices on the list but DocSeward snake hooks are clearly head and shoulders above the competition for a variety of reasons.
The DocSeward is a snake hook that can be used for controlling and capturing snakes that are out on the loose. With a balanced copper ferrule, this hook is lightweight and offers the control you want while handling snakes. Made of copper and stainless steel with a rubber grip, the design is simple, high quality, and perfect for the easy handling & capture of snakes.
At 43 inches long, this hook is one of the best snake hooks that you can buy and it provides for years of excellent use. With attention to detail, this is a good example of fantastic craftsmanship that you want to see when buying from a local company.
DocSteward is based in the United States and makes its products at the highest standards, which comes from making them one at a time by hand instead of mass production. You can tell the difference. We loved the way this snake hook looks and operates. Since we try out the products that we recommend, this one is one of the best ones on the market.
While we have heard that there are some other small American made snake hooks that could end up giving DocSeward a run for the money, right now they are definitely king of the crop.
Look, the picture on this one isn’t pretty but the snake hook is reliable. While we’re not going to deny they desperately need a better camera/photographer to upgrade the photos, in real life testing this is a very solid option that is well made and holds up in real world conditions.
This is a standard size snake hook that gives the length you want when handling heavy duty snakes and you don’t want them getting close enough for striking. Even if you are out in a snake heavy area, you’ll have the ability to catch them and dispose of them in the right way. It’s great for the protection that you need.
You’ll find that this snake hook is one that is durable and made to last, which is a big part of any grading scale that we’re going to have for these tools. The snake hook from Tom’s Reptiles is going to hold up and it won’t disappoint.
In fact, we recommend it for people that live in areas that are prone to see snakes out and about. The excellent way that this is made is for the people that want to succeed at capturing snakes on a regular basis. You’ll definitely be impressed with this one and you’ll be satisfied with the ease that you can move around with and exceptional use of the hook.
This is a solid choice that will quickly become a regular part of your tool box.
Also made from Tom’s Reptiles as is the option further up, this moderately priced snake hook is the standard size for a long hook and is a one-piece that you can rely on when it comes to handling large and heavy snakes.
As with the other top rated snake hooks that we review, this one is strong, durable, and one-piece. Sometimes simple is best and we really like how this design is all business and built to get the job done right. The bit of blue around the handle is a nice aesthetic choice, and the long reach is a must if you find yourself in a situation where you have to deal with snakes.
Add in the fact the company has over 30 years of experience creating these snake hooks and handling snakes safely and humanely, and it makes sense that they would be the right ones to come up with a great reliable design.
Whether handling snakes, reaching for them in tricky enclosed spaces, this is an outstanding option that will we a favorite among pest control specialists, herpetologists, or individuals who just need to safely move snakes from one area to another.
This is the longest snake hook on the list and while my brother and I love the extra bit of length, the main reason it’s a little bit further down the list is that not everyone will have the arm strength when handling heavy snakes to use these effectively when holding the snake that far from your body. However if shoulders aren’t an issue then getting that extra 4.5 inches or more can make a huge difference when it comes to handling particularly large or dangerous snakes.
This snake hook is one of our top rated options and in addition to the long length and solid construction, there’s the use of solid materials that aren’t going to let you down in the field. Having a much longer snake hook can be incredibly useful especially when dealing with rough or tricky terrain.
Most importantly, you won’t have any slips when you are the snake handler with this fantastic model. With the excellent reach that this snake hook will give you, you’ll be able to flip over stumps when you need to in order to get control of the snakes that are out there in the wild.
There’s no doubt that we recommend this for those of you that are planning to be out in the fields, especially wooded ones. We like that Forestry backs its products and they are a reliable company that uses excellent materials to make their snake hooks. There’s a reason they are absolutely one of the best long snake hooks out there.
When looking for the best snake hooks on the market, many times you’ll run into a snake tong and snake hook combo, and that’s a pretty good way to go for most people. Aside from the fact that the snake tong + snake hook method is one of the most popular out there, this also helps because it means the same manufacturer makes both tools. It makes sense that they would make them to work together.
In fact, many of these companies who make the top rated snake tongs out there only offer the snake hooks as part of a package deal. The picture to the left is of our #1 recommendation for a snake tong and snake hook combo if you are going to buy both from the same provider.
Yes, this is a collapsible snake hook, but it’s also the one that would have made the list if it was sold separate from the tongs. The fact that the tong handles most of the weight and grip, and the hook is used in conjunction for support makes it a better option than if it was a standalone.
You can click on the picture to see the up to date pricing that is on Amazon and if you are going to use the tong and hook method, this is a combo that is worth checking out even if your intention started with looking for standalone snake hooks.
Always good to check out your options!
Why We Don’t Like Collapsible or Folding Snake Hooks
Simply put: snake hooks are simple and effective tools. The term “points of failure” is sometimes referred to when there is a tool or process where one or more things could go wrong. The more of these you have, the more likely things are likely to go wrong. Snake hooks should be simple tools that have as few moving or folding pieces as possible (after all there’s no need for a single one)!
The idea of a snake hook accidentally folding while handling a large rattler is not a pleasant one. We want as much control as possible when handling a snake and while there are good collapsible snake hooks out there, we just don’t see the reason for it.
Keep in mind that once again, this is just our opinion, and we are not frequently handling venomous snakes so that opinion matters less than what a professional snake handler is going to have. If you know several who swear by a collapsible or retractable snake hook then chances are that’s a good option.
This is our general opinion just to give you both sides of the coin so you can make an educated choice.
Snake Hook FAQ
Q: What’s the difference between a snake hook and snake tongs?
A: A snake hook is a simpler tool that sounds just like that: it’s a long pole with a wide metal hook at the end. This isn’t a sharp hook like fishing hooks, but is curved without a sharp end. These aren’t to hurt snakes but are tools that allow the safe handling of a large snake in a way that is safe for both the individual as well as the snake itself.
Snake tongs are a big more complicated with a handle, a grip, and that actually nestles the snake from both sides as opposed to just scooping the snake from underneath with a hook. There are some companies that sell a tong and hook combination.
Q: Why are there so many different lengths of snake hooks?
A: There are a few reasons. One is that different sized snakes require different lengths of hooks to safely and effectively balance and handle them. There’s also different snake hook sizes because the length of person’s arms and their upper body strength can make a major difference when it comes to what hooks are going to be the best fit.
Generally the smaller of hooks are 28 to 33 inches while larger ones will be north of 40 inches.
Q: Are retractable snake hooks safe?
A: There are many good retractable snake hooks out there, and there are professionals who use them. Personally we’re not as big a fan because that is one more function that can possibly go wrong while using them. Snake hooks don’t take up a lot of space, so why create even the smallest risk of an in-field failure or problem to save some space? Good snake hooks can be very simple effective tools so why complicate things?
Q: How can I tell if a snake hook is from a reliable company or not?
A: Ah, yes, buying from a reliable brand that isn’t a cheap unreliable drop-shipping setup from China. This can be increasingly difficult as more and more options seem to look the same and come from show up today and gone tomorrow setups. The key is doing a little bit of research, understanding what the best options are, and seeing resources like this one. We do this type of research to avoid promoting any non-quality snake hooks. If in doubt, go with DocSeward.
Q: Which snake hook should I buy?
A: The best answer is one that you’re comfortable with. Ideally it’s a longer hook to put more space between your arm and the snake, but it you just can’t handle a heavy snake at the end of a hook that’s more than a certain length, then you either need two or need to shorten it up a bit. All the snake hooks we listed are ones we’ve at least handled to make sure they weren’t obviously cheap, and to make sure there weren’t any obvious flaws or issues that would disqualify one from the list.
We list the top rated snake hooks here in order of which we believe will be the best option for most people. If in doubt, look at DocSeward snake hooks. They are consistently the top rated reptile handling hooks for a reason!
Q: How do you catch a snake with a snake hook?
A: This will vary depending on the exact method being used as there are three main techniques for catching a snake using snake hooks: the 1-hook method, 2-hook method, and hook & tongs method. The main strategy behind each is trying to gently slide a hook underneath the middle of a snake’s body, lifting them up from the middle and keeping them away from the body (especially when venomous). If there is a second hook you’re looking to get the first one a little over 1/3 back with the other another 1/3 back for more support, and a similar method is used when grabbing with tongs.
If there’s only one hook, you’re looking at going for the middle since this is the best way to balance the snake. Keep in mind that this is easier to balance with thicker snakes as opposed to thinner snakes.
Q: How can you use a snake hook?
A: Aside from supporting the movement of a snake you can also use a snake hook for moving rubbish over a hiking trail, poking at rubbish where a snake might be hiding, or even for gently pinning down the neck/head of a snake as you collect it for removal or allowing others to move by safely.
There are several decent options with snake hooks out there, and even making a decent one isn’t nearly as complicated as the same process with snake tongs. It’s important to know how to properly use a good snake hook and to have training with experienced snake wranglers or pest control specialists to understand the do’s and don’t’s of properly using these tools.
The good news is that with several good options available, you can even have several of these hooks on hand to take care of even the largest and thickest of venomous snakes. If you’re going to be handling a lot of big snakes, especially venomous snakes, then you need to make sure that you have quality snake hooks to help take care of things.