Friday, January 26, 2007


Disposable Sexing Probes for Snakes

Just to report on a really cool piece of advice from a herp veterinarian, Dale DeNardo, who wrote the chapter Reproductive Biology in Doug Mader's book, Reptile Medicine and Surgery...the author strongly endorses the use of straightened plastic-tipped bobby pins as "the best probes because they are inexpensive and disposable after a single use". "This", he continues, "eliminates the possibility of transferring microorganisms between individuals."

I gotta tell 'ya...I'm hooked on using these for good. There is no need for me to go out and buy another set of stainless steel probes (mine have been missing since we moved from Texas to Utah).
For you veterinary professionals, keep a jar of these handy next to your cotton balls, Q-Tips®, and tongue depressors. No more washing them everyday. No more sticking them in the autoclave to be sterilized. Can you imagine the time and money you'll save?! "Single use and disposable" supplies are worth their weight in gold to a vet clinic.
The same to you folks who own large numbers of snakes or varanids; I'd urge you to keep a supply of these on your work counter.

lol I love it. Thats a great tip for probing. Now I'm inexperienced with probing(normally have others do it for me) but my only question would be whether you can get safe diameter bobby pins for all sizes of animal. Or is that issue somehow not a factor with bobbypins?
I think the diameter is appropriate for snakes under 6 or 7 ft., which includes most snakes.
The key is that the tip is rounded and blunt which makes it hard to rip through the diverticulum of most snakes. Of course, I wouldn't use these on hatchling colubrids.

Yesterday, I taught a Reptile Restraint class to my Animal Restraint For Veterinary Professionals class, and I used them on a variety of snakes to show my class how to properly sex snakes...They worked fine on large adult Cal. kingsnakes, yearling ball pythons, large adult ball pythons, and large adult corn snakes. A lot of size difference there, but it worked fine.
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