RESTRAINING OF REPTILES

RESTRAINING
• To hold back from action, check or control, repress. • To deprive of liberty, as by arrest, confine. • To limit or hamper the activity. • Keep under control. • keeping them in captivity by means such as handcuffs, ropes, straps, etc.

TYPES
 PHYSICAL RESTRAINT  CHEMICAL RESTRAINT

PHYSICAL RESTRAINT • Practice of rendering people harmless, helpless

or keeping them in captivity by means such as
Handcuffs, fetters, ropes, snares, straps or other

forms of physical restraint.

CHEMICAL RESTRAINT
• Form of medical restraint in which a drug is used to restrict the freedom or movement of a reptile or in some cases to sedate the animal. • These are used in emergency, acute condition. • Chemical restraints are also referred to as a

psychopharmacologic agent.

PURPOSE OF RESTRAINING
• Physical examination • Handling • Transportation • Treatment • Research purpose • Diagnostic testing such as Blood collection, tracheal & cloacal wash, faecal analysis, radiographs, ultrasound, cytology, and endoscopy.

CROCODILES

• Small specimens up to 0.6 m (2 ft) in length may be manually handled without difficulty. • Pin the head partially to allow a safe approach . • May scratch, so provide suitable protection in the form of gloves or clothing. • The tail must be restrained at all times; otherwise even a small animal may slap the handler in the face or injure itself by wildly flailing the tail. • Specimens up to 2 m (6 ft) in length may be handled with a snare.

• With either type, once the noose is around the neck, the
animal is likely to try to twirl on the snare; unless the handler is prepared to twirl the snare with the animal, strangulation or neck injuries may occur. • Immediately grasping the tail as soon as a snare is placed around the neck will inhibit twirling on the snare and prevent flailing .

• Even with a snare around the neck, the head of a
crocodile is able to flip rapidly from side to side.

GRASPING THE SMALL CROCODILIAN BY NECK AND TAIL.

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• • •

LARGE CROCODILIANS An alligator or caiman can be handled by two or three persons who jump on it simultaneously, one grasping the front legs and controlling the body and another the tail. Speed, agility, and timing are important. Crocodile is much faster and more aggressive than an alligator or caiman. Nets or special squeeze cages may be used to manipulate any species of crocodile. A large crocodilian may be restrained by the use of heavy cargo nets or by ropes placed around the mouth, legs, and tail. Once the animal is secured, the mouth can be taped shut with electrician’s tape or duct tape or tied shut with small ropes.

CHEMICAL RESTRAINT

SNAKES

PHYSICAL RESTRAINT
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• • • •
NONPOISONOUS SNAKES Many nonpoisonous snakes will not bite unless tormented. The head of a large nonpoisonous snake must be controlled, particularly when manipulating for examination . When holding a snake it is important to support the body. An unsupported snake becomes insecure and restless and may thrash . If the body is left dangling, a vigorous snake may thrash until its neck is dislocated or fractured. The mouth of a properly held snake may be opened either by pulling on the loose fold of skin between the lower jaws or by gently inserting a plastic spatula, covered forceps, or tongue depressor into the mouth, taking care not to damage the teeth.

• Snake hooks are fundamental tools for working with reptiles • Hooks may be used for directing movement, lifting snakes from containers. • Snake hook may be used to pin the head of any snake to the ground, allowing the handler to safely grasp it. • Only sufficient pressure to hold the snake should be exerted; too much pressure on the neck may seriously injure the spine or dislocate the head. • Grasp the neck and head.

• Once the animal is out of the cage, it may be placed on the floor and the head gently pinned until it is grasped.

• Large pythons, anacondas, and boa constrictors may
require multiple handlers grasping and holding the

snake simultaneously.

• A large snake should never be allowed to throw a loop around the neck or body of a handler. It is natural for a snake to coil.  A snake coiled around an arm will feel comfortable, and the arm will suffer no harm. • Some agile nonpoisonous snakes are difficult to handle. • If pinned, they thrash and often injure themselves. • The experienced handler may be able to pin and grab them quickly, • The snake loop or noose is a more effective.

• The Pilston snake tong is not a suitable tool for direct handling of snakes, since it is likely to cause injury particularly in the hands of a novice. • A small plastic shield, is used to capture a large, slightly aggressive nonpoisonous snake. • The shield allows constant sight of the head; by applying gentle pressure, the shield can immobilize the snake sufficiently to enable the handler to grasp it behind the head.

• Another capture technique is to allow a snake to begin to engulf prey, usually a rodent grasping the snake behind the head. • This technique is less desirable than others because of the danger of regurgitation if a snake is handled soon after eating.

POISONOUS SNAKES
• It is unwise to restrain any poisonous snake unless antivenin is at hand. • No one should handle poisonous snakes without first developing expertise and confidence by practicing the techniques on nonpoisonous snakes.

• Vipers and pit vipers heavy-bodied snakes. They arrange their bodies into a series of undulating folds from which position they can strike in any direction. • The maximum striking distance is approximately twothirds the length of the body. • Small vipers may be held for intramuscular injections by pressing them with wire screen.

• Pinning a snake is a common procedure, but it should be used on venomous species only by the experienced snake handler. • The hook is gently pressed behind the head; then the thumb and forefinger are used to grasp just behind the jaws. • A firm hold must be kept until the snake is released. • An alternate hold is with the thumb and second finger, the index finger being placed over the top of the head. • The snake noose or loop is more effective to control both types. • Plastic tubes of various sizes make excellent tools for handling many species of poisonous snakes. • They are now being used extensively by snake handlers . • The plastic tubes can be capped on one end or left open. • Slots in the sides of the tubes permit various procedures to be successfully completed in relative safety for both person and snake.

• The plastic tube should be sized so that the thickest portion of the body of the snake can barely pass through it. • Otherwise the snake may turn around and come out. • To tube the snake, place it on the floor with a hook. • Hold the tube with a tong or, with docile or slow-moving species, by hand. • When the snake has crawled into the tube one-third of its length, very slowly and deliberately reach down and grasp with one hand both snake and tube at the point they adjoin. • Maintain this grasp continually until the snake is released. • Never hold the tube with one hand and the snake with the other; the snake might back out of the tube and bite. • The tube may also be placed along a wall. • Examination of both ventral and dorsal aspects, intramuscular injections, forced sheddings, sexing.

• This technique is dangerous and unsuitable for handling large, extremely aggressive, and fast-moving snakes such as the boomslang or the king cobra. • With all species of elapids, it is essential to hold the plastic tube with long forceps such as the Pilston tong. • The cobra’s defensive posture is to raise the body to a vertical position with hood up. These snakes strike forward and downward from that position. • Squeeze boxes are more suitable than tubes for handling large, swift, and aggressive elapid snakes. • Squeeze boxes may be incorporated directly into the permanent cage.

CHELONIANS
• Turtles, Tortoises & Terrapins are species that may have both terrestrial and aquatic phases.

• The major weapons of turtles and tortoises are the hard bony plates that replace teeth in both upper and lower jaws. • Snapping turtles are notorious biters, and occasionally a large tortoise may nip at a person. • Some soft-shelled turtles and a few of the side-necked turtles occasionally bite. • The side-necked turtle scratches by continually raking with the legs as long as it is grasped, but the wounds inflicted are usually superficial. • The western pond turtle and some other species are also persistent scratchers. • Fingers may be pinched if the head and limbs are suddenly withdrawn into the carapace and plastron.

ANATOMY

• To pick up a small- to medium-sized turtle or tortoise, grasp the sides of the carapace. • When a chelonian is turned over from side to side, there is a slight risk of causing torsion of a segment of the intestine. • The animal should be turned slowly. • Small- to medium-sized chelonians should be turned over from front to back. • The animal should not be held with the head down for long periods, since this may interfere with respiration. • If a limb must be examined, grasp the foot and apply gentle, steady traction to withdraw the leg from the protective cover of the carapace and plastron. • Do not jerk on the limb, lest injury occur to small bones and other structures of the leg.

PHYSICAL RESTRAINT

• Soft-shell turtles require careful handling, since they tend to be slightly aggressive and will bite and scratch. • The soft carapace makes it difficult to grasp the animal firmly, and heavyhanded restraint practices may impair respiration or damage internal organs. • Soft-shells may be netted to lift them out of the water. Wear light gloves to gently grasp the animal. • Snapping turtles may weigh up to 100 kg (220 lb) and are particularly hazardous to handle. • They can easily bite off a finger or inflict other serious injury. • A small snapper is best handled by grasping the tail and lifting it off the ground or out of the water. Do not allow the head to dangle close to your leg, lest the animal reach out and bite.

• A mediumsized snapper may require two hands to handle. • Once the tail has been grasped, a firmer hold may be employed by carefully running the hand closely over the top of the carapace and grasping the carapace just above the head. • A large snapper may be lifted by one or two persons grasping the rear and front carapace . • Snapping turtles may be turned over onto the carapace. • They usually struggle for a moment then relax. Hold the mouth shut by pressing the lower jaw against the upper jaw. • Keep the hands in a position that permits quick withdrawal if the turtle should succeed in righting itself.

• Sea turtles weigh up to 600 kg (1,320 lb). They are herbivorous and generally not aggressive. • Small specimens may be grasped directly from a tank or netted. • The flippers are strong and may strike a handler if the turtle is kept right side up. • If a turtle is tipped upside down, it tends to relax and

quietly allow examination and minor surgery.

LIZARDS
• Lizards vary in size from tiny skinks weighing a few grams to large monitor lizards such as the Komodo dragon weighing 90 kg (200 lb).

PHYSICAL RESTRAINT • Small lizards may be hand held and will attempt to bite. Thin gloves will protect the hands. • The scales of some species are rough and may require gloves.

• Lizard should not be caught by the tail. Some species are able to discard the tail as a device to distract predators. • Although the tail will eventually regrow, the individual will be a poor exhibit for many weeks to months. • Larger lizards such as iguanas may be presented in a sack for examination. • Determine the location of the head and grasp the animal behind the head through the sack, controlling it until it can be regrasped as the sack is carefully removed. • Keep the tails of larger species restrained at all times.

• If one must handle a lizard to expose the ventral aspect, a
long-sleeved shirt or wide-gauntleted gloves should be worn to protect from scratches. • Once the animal is in hand, it may be situated in a variety of positions.

• The mouth may be opened for examination by pulling on the
fold of skin beneath the chin or by pinching and lifting the rostrum (nose). • Some lizards resist opening the mouth, and the jaws must be gently pried apart and held open.

 A wedge-shaped piece of plastic may be used to open the mouth if care is taken to avoid breaking the tiny fragile teeth. • Some large pet iguanas may be held without grasping the nape of the neck. • However, they may bite when held in this fashion by a person who manipulates the animal in an unaccustomed manner.

• Large lizards must be handled either with nets or snares. • Take care to avoid injury to the neck when tightening a snare. • Snares, cables, or ropes covered with plastic or rubber tubing are safest. • As soon as the snare has been placed on the neck, the tail should be grasped, as with crocodilians. If manipulation is to be prolonged, tape the hind legs to the tail. • The ensnared animal may be transported from one place to another with additional support beneath the body.

• Handle poisonous lizards by grasping them behind the head and neck. • They may also be grasped by the tail and lifted with a hook. • They are unlikely to climb up their own tails onto the handler’s hand.

CHEMICAL RESTRAINT

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