Snakes can be very good escape artists. Even experienced snake owners can find their snake missing at some point. If you happen to be in this situation, the rule number one is to stay calm. Your primal task is to search, not to panic.
Photo by Markus Schroeder
1) Start your search near the cage and go from there. A snake can end up almost anywhere so it's very important to look for it thoroughly in every place you can think of. Here are a few ideas:
- behind and under the furniture along the baseboards;
- inside cabinets, drawers, shelves, dressers, and bookcases (check behind, in, and under any items in these places);
- inside any boxes and bags you have around the house, including tissue boxes, backpacks, and purses;
- inside boots and shoes, or any other small, dark places that are good for hiding;
- inside computers;
- in and near heating ducts;
- remove cushions from couches and chairs, and check down the sides and back of the furniture;
- remove sheets and pillow cases, remove the mattress from the box spring (basically, strip the bed bare);
- have a look at the underside of furniture, beds, and appliances for any holes through which the creature could get inside the furniture/bed;
- check the entire bathroom and kitchen (behind the refrigerator, in, under, and behind the oven).
This list can be longer but the idea should be clear. Check everything and everywhere. Think about what you know about snakes: how they act, what they seek, and what they avoid. Consider your particular type of snake and what it may be doing depending on the species.
If your snake is active during the day (diurnal), it would make sense to look for it during the day. If your snake is nocturnal, it would make sense to look for it during the night. Remember that you want the snake to be comfortable enough to come out, so remove anything that can scare it off. This would include loud noises and other pets.
If your snake is still missing, try the following tricks.
Photo by Alice Chapman
2) Put the snake's tank in the middle of the room. Make sure it's open, and possibly place your snake's favourite treat or food around and in the tank. Chances are that next morning you'll find it camping inside. Exploring is good and interesting but the snake will recognize the "comforts of home". If, for some reason, it is impossible to leave the tank on the floor, get a Sterilite container. It should be large enough for both your snake and an Under the Tank Heater. Put some newspapers in it and leave it out. If possible, turn down the house heat and other sources of heat to lure the snake to the warmest place (the tank/container).
3) Place foil, crinkly plastic, sticky tape (sticky side up) or crumpled paper around the room, between doorways, along the walls and in possible hiding places. That will help you hear the snake moving around. Sometimes, however, you’ll need to be quiet for several hours.
4) Put flour along the baseboards, in thresholds, and anywhere the snake might be travelling. That will help you track the snake's movements. Focus your search in the area where the flour was disturbed.
5) In addition to the previous methods, you can try a webcam. Set it up to record on motion (otherwise you’ll eat up your hard drive space in a fairly shot time). Even though the area you can watch will be limited, it may still prove very helpful.
6) Leave some food out for the snake to catch its smell. It can even be a live mouse or rat in a small cage. This trick will probably not work if you have just fed the snake.
Finding your snake requires a lot of patience and dedication. Don't get frustrated and don't lose hope if you don't find your companion at once. Some people have reported that their snakes were found over a year later. Keep searching, keep leaving some food and water out. One day it may just show up.
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