Help! Baby snake stuck on tape. How do I save it?

neohippie(8b)March 11, 2010

I hope there are some wildlife rescuing experts here who know what I should do about this!

I had some flattened boxes lying on a patch of new veggie garden to smother the grass that was growing there before. I was too lazy to remove the packing tape, figuring it wouldn't do anything harmful.

Well, this morning I'm messing around out there and found a snake (not sure what kind beyond non-venomous) the size of a large earthworm with about half of its body (the front half, sadly), stuck on the tape.

I cut around the snake with scissors and got him off the box, but I have no idea how to get the tape off without hurting him. Right now he's in a pot on my porch in the shade. Poor thing is still thrashing around, so I know it happened recently because it still has a lot of energy left.

I'm thinking the only way I could save him is to find some sort of solvent that will dissolve the glue but not hurt the snake. Anybody know anything like that? I wish his head wasn't stuck, but it is. He's stuck from the middle of his belly all the way up to his chin.

I really hope this little guy isn't a goner. I feel guilty.

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lucypwd(z8PNW)

Oh my, I'm sorry. Try calling a vet.
I would also google snake blog/forums to see if you can post to an additional group.
I just googled herpetologist questions and got this email address Tina.Jackson@state.co.us colorado state herpetologist

maybe try calling the zoo

At least he will shed his skin at some point.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 12:42PM
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lucypwd(z8PNW)

another thought - cross post to the reptile amphibian forum. let us know how it works out

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 1:14PM
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neohippie(8b)

Ok, the snake has been freed! Good idea to look up the pet snake people. I found a post on a forum where someone put their pet snake in a box to transport it, and it got stuck to the tape. Turns out vegetable oil is the way to go when you have an animal stuck to tape. So I got my snake and some oil and Q-Tip and after much gentle stroking and prodding with the oil soaked Q-Tip he finally came loose.

Good thing to know in case anyone is in a similar situation. My boyfriend just called and he said he found a lizard stuck to tape in his store several years ago, so I guess this isn't a totally unusual thing to happen. He also freed it with vegetable oil.

The snake has been re-released into my back yard, and then I went to pull up the cardboard boxes and found another (unstuck) snake just like him that zipped away real fast when I pulled up the boxes. I think a garder snake or something similar decided my garden was a nice place to have some babies. This is great as long as the place doesn't turn out to be some sort of DEATH TRAP.

These boxes were put down last fall, and I'm surprised the tape is still sticky. Anyway, needless to say, it's being removed!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 1:38PM
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lucypwd(z8PNW)

that's amazing... Who would think that someone else would have a snake stuck to tape and document it...Glad it worked out.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2010 at 7:09PM
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paulsiu(5a)

I am surprise you are seeing so many snakes. I am sure that they exist in my neighborhood. I have rarely seen one. I get lots of frogs instead. In the summer, it becomes a challenge to mow the lawn.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2010 at 1:37AM
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terrene(5b MA)

I'm glad that you got the snake free. I use a lot of cardboard in the gardens, for smothering and suppressing weeds. It's a pain, but I am pretty meticulous about removing tape and plastic labels from the cardboard, because the plastic doesn't break down and leaves litter in the gardens. I never thought about the glue trapping snakes!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 3:23PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

i'm happy that you were able to free the snake neohippie, and i'm very glad to have the info- thanks!

and just fyi (everyone); the very fine black bird netting will also trap snakes- they can't back out of it. i discovered a beautiful one hanging dead in my berry patch.

-and it traps birds too, so check out the piles of netting you have in sheds and garages and put it in plastic bags.
i found this out the sad way one summer long ago and have never used it since.
min

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 6:52PM
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Jesspayton_hotmail_com

Wow It really works I just got a baby ribbon snake off some strong black tape and he seems to be ok. I really thought he was a goner!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2011 at 2:02PM
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Yes2Aloha_gmail_com

You helped me save a baby lizard stuck belly up, with its entire back essentially glued to a rubber brush in the shower. It had been there for a long time by the looks of the situation, and the vegetable oil and Q Tip worked wonders. It took maybe an hour of gentle work, and the lizard was finally freed, with use of all legs, arms, and tail. Thank you for the helpful information above!

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 3:23AM
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akaj9(9 Central Florida)

What a crazy post...look at the people you helped :) Well critters you have saved !!!!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:22PM
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