I needed help saving a snake today, and couldn’t find answers online. So I’m sorry this post includes a sad, cruel photo of an animal, but I want to put this into the ether in case it can help someone else searching for this answer in the future. Especially since it has a happy ending.
I found myself at work today hearing about the fact that there was a snake in the back warehouse portion of our building. It was a King Snake (non venomous) stuck on a rat sticky trap. These are disgusting horrible traps and no creature deserves this. I hate these things and throw them out if ever I see one. Furthermore, I heard he was not being treated well in his sorry state either. Few things turn me into a loud, angry person, but animal cruelty would take the top spot if I made a list. So I went in back and got loud and angry and took him.
Looking at him, I thought I would have to find a humane way of ending his misery, so I called my naturalist friends. It turns out that vegetable oil, canola, and lotion can all get the glue off an animal stuck in a sticky trap. Non toxic oil can free them. Just don’t get it in their nostrils. They had done this before. So over the course of about 30 minutes I freed him. Like this: I first cut off as much of the pad as possible so he wouldn’t re-stick. Begin at the tail and gently rub a little oil on both sides. Be conscious of the direction of his scales since you don’t want to pull opposite of them; it’s just easier to get him if his head is stable til the end. I got my oily fingernails into the glue and under the scales. Be patient. The snake will help. It wasn’t too difficult. And although I am a little fearful of snakes, by the time I got to his head, I wasn’t. He was curled around my fingers, slippery and beautiful and it really felt like we had been through something together.
Last bit of advice: when releasing him, you want to find a safe, out-of-the-way place with many hiding spots. He could die exerting too much effort finding a hideout from sun, cold, or predators. They are especially vulnerable after so much stress.
Of course I have to post the happy shots, too. My 14” King Snake free from glue, and a shot of his new residence in the hills by my home. Godspeed, little friend.