British Wiildlife Helpline

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First Aid For Reptiles

Snakes, Lizards and the Law

Snakes and lizards have lost a great deal of their habitat and and are declining in numbers.
They are protected species and anyone with a snake or lizards in their garden are actually very
fortunate to see them at such close quarters.
They hibernate in the cold months and are vulnerable when they first emerge to warm up in the sun.

First Aid

If you can't get to a rescue centre straight away, you will need to get someone to hold the snake firmly just behind the
head and about two thirds of the way along the body while you examine it and clean any wounds. Wipe away any
surface dirt gently and clean injuries with dilute saline solution or better still, Hypercal solution.
Hypercal solution:
4 drops Hypercal tincture
1 teaspoon warm, boiled water
Mix well and apply to the injury with cotton wool.
See also homoeopathic treatment
Saline solution: 
Half a pint of warm, boiled water
Half a teaspoon of salt
Stir to dissolve and use to clean any scratches or cuts.

Run over by car, mower, etc.

This will cause extensive internal injuries unless only the extreme tip of the tail is involved.
The animal needs to be put to sleep by a qualified Vet or Vet nurse.

Caught by a Cat

Cats can cause puncture wounds and scratches that are full of bacteria so the animal will need to be taken to
a Rescue Centre for antibiotic cover and have the wounds cleaned.
Small snakes and lizards can be badly injured by cats and if the injuries are extensive it may be kinder
to put the animal to sleep.
If most of the tail and the vent are missing, it has to be put to sleep immediately.

Tangled in pond netting

Hold it firmly just behind the head and about two thirds along the length of the body, to support the weight. 
It is easier if one person holds the snake and another person can cut away the netting until it is free.
Put into a pillowcase or deep cardboard box lined with newspaper and see if it is injured.
Snakes can lose scales when struggling to escape and will need some long acting antibiotic and care until the wounds heal.
Take to a rescue centre for examination and leave your phone number; it will have to be returned to the place it was found.

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