Introduction: Snake Tube

About: Proudly South African, Enthusiastic about the great outdoors, Natural Sciences, Photography, DIY, and all aspects of the natural world, with arachnids and reptiles being my absolute passion.

The snake tube is a really easy, safe way the collect snakes. It uses the basic instincts of a snake to get it into a bag with practically zero effort. 

Best used along with a Hook Stick (You can find a link to building one by clicking here),  the snake tube will allow minimal stress and hazard to the snake (and to you) during collection. 

Also, by clicking here you'll find a How-to on catching snakes.

Firstly, and most importantly, we need to clear the air on a few things:

1) This is more a report on how I made my snake tube as opposed to how to make the best one - This means that some parts are optional and won't have much influence on the finished project if you decide to leave them out - use your own discretion. It's not the cheapest, nor does it follow the general trend in snake collecting gear. More on this later.
2) The gear doesn't make you an expert - Get to know the snake tube and get to know how it should be used. Practice on rubber snakes, thick ropes or harmless species before trying your hand at venomous snakes.
3) Obviously certain snake species are dangerous, remember that at all times, and treat every snake with the respect they deserve. Don't catch snakes if you don't need to. Unless it's for extraction or for research, leave them alone.

The snake tube in it's most simple form is a wide tube that is put in the entrance of a bag. When a snake feels threatened, it naturally wants to get to shelter. By using the snake tube, you are playing with this instinct and the snake will almost always enter the tube by itself. All you really need to make a snake tube is, well, a tube... This Instructable will show how to make a good one though.

Step 1: Materials Used

The whole project was made using everyday scraps lying around, so no costs were involved.

I used the following:

Drill & Bits
L-square Angle Ruler
Flat Bar (Length doesn't matter much, I used a piece of roughly 65cm)
Off-cut of hardboard (Longer than the drain pipe)
Meausring Calliper
2 Bolts
Masking Tape
Section of Drain Pipe (Again, length doesn't matter much, it mustn't be too long though, the piece I used was roughly 25cm long)
2 G-clamps

Step 2: Preparing the Tube

1) Most drain pipes have a two seams that run down the length of it on opposite sides. Cut along the seams with the hacksaw to get two perfect halves.

2) Take some tape and stick it along the inside of the tube, taking care to keep it straight. Then remove the tape, fold it in half, mark it with a pencil, and stick it back inside the tube. this will mark the middle of the tube as shown in the second photo here. Notch the top of the tube with the hacksaw.

3) Then drill two holes along the top of the tube in the middle - the same thickness as the bolts you'll use (I used 8mm bolts). Don't drill them too close together (I made this mistake and regretted it later on, as you'll see when the bolts come into play)

Step 3: The Handle

Use the G-clamps to secure the flat-bar to a workbench. 

Proceed to clobber the daylights out of it until you have an approximately roughly +/- sort of 90 degree angle.
The short side should be slightly longer than the distance between the two holes in the tube. 

Using the calliper, measure off the distance between the holes on the tube and mark it off on the flat bar. Drill them out carefully.

Step 4: Attaching the Base

Measure out the hard-board so that you can cover the bottom of the tube. Use the L-square ruler to get an accurate mark.

Cut out the section and using silicone or any other adhesive (silicone was all I could find), stick the hardboard to the tube with the rough side facing upwards (into the tube).

Seeing as we've cut the tube in half, it's important to add a base otherwise you run the risk of the snake slithering into the tube and underneath the bag instead of into it. Needless to say you'll get a sizeable fright when you lift the bag up thinking the snake's inside and it's actually lying ready to greet you underneath it... It's a serious danger when working with venomous snakes.

Step 5: Assembly

As you can see from the photos, I've added some cable ties to the tube for reinforcement. I've also spray painted the handle Post-office Red so that it can be easily spotted when you need it. 

In step 2 I mentioned to take care when drilling the holes and making sure they're not too close together. Here we can see why. 

My original plan was to use 2 wing-nuts which would make dis-assembly easy. It was a great idea until I realised that, because of shoddy planning, the holes were too close together so the two wing-nuts couldn't fit... Genius.

Anyway, assembly is quite simple, just place the handle over the two holes in the tube, push the bolts through from below and secure with the wing-nuts from above. 

The handle will allow you to keep total control over the tube while keeping out of the snake's way while it enters the tube. 

Step 6: Finishing Off

This step just shows how the tube works, you place the snake bag at the one end, wrap it around the tube and get the snake to head into the other end. It'll slither through and straight into the bag. Remove the tube, secure the bag and you've caught your snake.

Interesting Note: By sheer coincidence, During step 3 while trying to hammer the flat-bar motherless, I ended up with an angle closer to 70 degrees instead of the planned 90 degrees. As it turns out, if I flip the tube up, the handle and rear end both lie flat on the ground, as you can see in the second photo. This is actually ideal, as it allows you to secure the bag and remove the tube even more safely - the tube 'locks' the entrance to the bag.

Any feedback on this project will be greatly appreciated!