Have you ever wondered how the sex of snakes is determined? It is generally difficult to tell the sex of snakes and most reptiles by simply looking at them. However, The use of a snake probe kit can help us to easily determine the sex of snakes.
If you’re planning to own a pet snake or you already own one, you should have come across a snake probe kit, or probably you should know how to use one. However, if you don’t, do not worry. In this article, we will try to explain more about a snake probing kit or a snake Probe kit.
What is a snake probe kit
A snake probe kit is a tool used for determining the sex of snakes. They are long, thin, needle-like objects. They are usually made of stainless steel. They come in slightly different sizes.
Before we can really tell how to use a snake probe kit to determine the sex of a snake, we have to look a little into the biology of snakes. Biologically, what really differentiates a male snake from a female snake? To make this easy to understand, I will classify the differences between male and female snakes in two major ways.
Male and female snakes can be differentiated by the size and shape of their tails and the presence of hemipenes. Female snakes have thinner tails with gradual tampers While male snakes have thicker tails with sudden Tampers. male snakes have Hemipenes while female snakes do not have hemipenes.
Snake probing employs the presence or absence of hemipenes to determine if a snake is a male or female.
How to probe a Snake
To probe a snake, you insert the snake probe into the cloacal vents of the snake while it is awake.
Direct the probe towards the edge where the hemipenes would normally sit in a male. If you do not find enough space to dip the snake probe further then it is a female but if you find enough space to dip the snake probe further then it is a male. It should be noted that in male snake, the probe will drop down further into one of the spaces that point towards the end tip of the tail. However, in female snakes, the probe won’t drop down further. This is because the females do not have hemipenes to accommodate the snake probing kit.
For female snakes the probe only drops in an average of 1-3 scales or Subcaudals while in male snakes the probe drops in an average of 9-15 scales or subcaudals.
To probe a snake you need three things. First, you need someone to help you hold down the snake while probing. You also need to make sure that you have the appropriate snake probing kit. Lastly, you need to be calm and confident while probing the snake.
If this is your first time probing a snake then we would advise that you stay under the supervision of an animal caretaker or a veterinary staff. Snake probing if done incorrectly can injury the snake.
Snake probe kit slightly differs in sizes this is because the sizes of a snake’s cloacal varies across different species so make sure you use the appropriate size for your pet snake.
Does Probing hurt snakes?
When done appropriate probing does not hurt or injure a snake. However, when forced and not gentle enough the snake probe could damage the internal organ of the snake, especially in female snakes. The round ball tip of a snake probe is designed to prevent discomfort or injury to snakes during probing.
A broken Snake probe kit?
You shouldn’t worry about a snake probe kit breaking while probing a snake. This is because snake probe kits are made of strong metals. It is able to withstand the pressure caused by a wiggling snake. However, if this happens please make sure you immediately request for the assistance of veterinary services.
How to select a snake probe kit for my snake
Normally, snake probing kit comes in a variety of sizes so this helps you to keep changing to a bigger probe as your snake grows. Choose a probe that fits well into your snake’s cloaca opening or vent.
On the tip of a snake probe kit is a solid ball that usually ranges from 1mm to 5mm. The 1mm sized ball tip snake probe is the most appropriate for hatchlings and juvenile snakes while the 2mm sized ones works well with small and medium sized snakes. Pythons and other large snakes species would require ball sizes of up to 4mm
When selecting a snake probe kit, do not forget to choose the one with a case and zipper, this helps to protect the probe from damage.
Why is snake probing important?
You might be wondering if probing a snake is really important? Yes it is good for a pet snake owner to know the sex of his/her pet snake. It is not just good enough to know, but to be able to determine this yourself. This knowledge will become very useful if you plan to breed your snakes in the future. You have to be able to differentiate between male and female snakes to successfully breed them.
A snake probe kit is used to determine the sex of a snake. They come in different sizes. New snake pet owners should seek the supervision of experienced vet staff before trying to probe a snake, this is to prevent injuring or harming the snake.
When probing a snake it is important to choose the appropriate snake probe kit and to seek the assistance of someone to hold down the snake while probing. We hope that this information will guide you when caring for your snake pets.