Scales & Tails

Class Syllabus
Dangerous Reptile Training for the First Responder

9:00-11:00 Venomous snakes

  • Rattlesnake demonstration; use of snake hook will be highlighted.
  • Students will hook medium sized rattlesnake into trash can.
  • Students will hook pigmy rattlesnake into drywall bucket.
  • Viper demonstration; Gaboon Viper, Rhinoceros Viper, Puff Adder will be used.
  • Students will hook Puff Adder into trash can.
  • Techniques using 2 hooks, as well as snake tongs will be demonstrated.
  • Cobra demonstration.
  • Students will hook small cobra into drywall bucket.
  • Look alike species: Students will see how much deadly snakes can look like harmless ones.

11:00-11:30 NYS Native Reptile Species

Protected and nonprotected, venomous and harmless native species will be shown.

11:30-12:15 Non-venomous snakes

  • Identification of commonly kept non-venomous species.
  • Capture technique will be practiced with a midsize python.
  • Students will handle Mathilda, a 14 foot Burmese python. Class photo will be taken.

12:15-1:00 Lizards

  • Identification of commonly kept non-venomous species.
  • Students will restrain and contain an aggressive midsize Blackthroat Monitor lizard.

1:00-1:30 LUNCH (Provided)

1:30-2:30 Crocodilians

  • Identification of crocodilian species, along with their character traits.
  • Large caiman, alligator demonstration.
  • Students will restrain an aggressive midsize Spectacled Caiman.
  • Students will restrain a 3-foot long American Alligator.

2:30-3:00 Snapping turtles

Students will learn proper techniques for handling large snapping turtles.
Demonstration with Alligator Snapping Turtle.

3:00-3:30 Invertebrates

  • Tarantulas will be shown and discussed.
  • Identification and dangers of scorpions will be addressed.
  • The differences between tropical Millipedes and Centipedes will be illustrated.

3:30 - 3:45 Working with materials at hand (Things I learned watching MacGyver)

  • Reptile capture and containment tools will be fashioned from common materials.
  • Students will contain a rattlesnake using only a broom and a trash can.

3:45- 4:15 First aid for reptile bites

  • Medical protocols for reptile wounds (including venomous snake bites) will be discussed.
  • Students will practice using venom extractors and crepe bandages for venomous snake bites.

4:15- 4:30 Evaluation of course

Students will give their input on the value of the class, plus any suggestions for course improvement.