Machete and snake


Oct 10, 2004
Someone told me that the steel in a machete (or some knives) will not cut through the tough scales of a snake. Is this true? It sounds like B.S. to me but I thought I'd ask the experts.

P.S. I don't plan on going snake hunting anytime soon! :D
It's B.S. -- as long as it's sharp, it'll work. Many an anaconda, python, constrictor has been skinned in South America by indigenous people whose only blade is, and for many years has been, a cheap machete. Their cheap machetes are the central tool off of which they live.

I know Central Texas rattlers are pretty tough but we shortened quite a few back in the day using a stick, a boot heel and a Buck 110. Perhaps your buddy has a dull blade, a dull imagination or, like many a city boy, is trying to impress someone with their 'knowledge' of the Deathless Serpent.
BTW: I found one snake who knew where the stick ended and the fingers began. Believe me, that one fang has been troublesome for many years. :grumpy:
How did you manage to step on them and still be alive to tell the tale?

Well, first of all none of the snakes in the USA are *that* deadly. Not like your taipans or black mambas, for instance. So you have just a little bit more wiggle room. Not that I recommend being bitten by any snake, since I can't imagine that tissue necrosis is any fun.
Anyway, so what you do is take a stick that's at least three feet long and pin the snake right behind the head. If you can get a forked stick, even better. Then you can dispose of the snake as you like. Carefully. And don't say I told you to do it.

I've killed a couple rattlers when out doing feild work and I just put my foot just behind the head fast and got my knife and cut their head of, have not been gotten yet but I would not go out and do it for fun.If there is no other way then it can be done, but I am also the person that took on a coyote with a 12'' pipe wrench and killed it.
Most of the rattlers about here are under 3 feet anymore and rare. Back in the 60s and 70s we regularly killed 6 to near 8 footers (usually after slowing them down with concentrated BB gun fire).
We see occasional mocs or copperheads in the Hill Country and I have seen only 3 corals in the wild.
The best stick method is to get one moving away from you at which point they have no striking distance and toss a walkingstick across their back. They tend to stop and contract a bit which usually brings the head nearer the stick. Step on the stick pins 'em down enuff to get a boot on their business end. Then out comes the knife.
The big ones were able to twist and break every 'noose' we bought or devised that was light enough to carry.
A forked stick works well though we didn't carry one and it was too much trouble to go cut one in the heat of battle.
No, tissue necrosis is not a pretty thing. US venomous snakes (with the exception of the coral) use their poison primarily as a digestive enzyme.
I got hit cuz I had too short a stick to be trying to encourage the snake out from under a bush so I could gift him with a big rock. He didn't want to play along and let me know. At first it looked and felt like a good thorn prick. That was the pleasant part. 6 - 8 hours later, between the doctors slicing 'expansion slits' to accomodate the swelling, the enzymes and all the other irritations, things get ugly. My finger looked like a hotdog that fell in the fire. 25 years later it ain't too awful as it still resembles a finger and has about 90% of its use. I think the docs did as much damage as the snake.
Actually I rather enjoyed the celebrity except that every intern had to come see and take notes and make stupid comments.
I leave them all alone these days (snakes and interns) unless they need relocation away from a neighborhood. Everything has its place and a right to live.
I've used machetes dull & sharp to do the job. No problem either way. It is my tool of choice for dealing with snakes.
I avoid killing king snakes but have occasionally had to protect pets from rattlers and copperheads.
By corals, I ain't talking about kingsnakes. As kids, we killed rattlers with everything from rocks and clubs to spears, bow & arrow, m-80s, BB guns and the occasional .22. We left the 'good' ones alone. It was all out war on rattlers though. Wonder why there are so few now..... :eek:
After all of the South Alabama rattlers I've seen killed and generally chopped up with a common garden hoe, I'd have to say that a good machete will cut a snake in two just fine.
Merek said:
By corals, I ain't talking about kingsnakes. As kids, we killed rattlers with everything from rocks and clubs to spears, bow & arrow, m-80s, BB guns and the occasional .22. We left the 'good' ones alone. It was all out war on rattlers though. Wonder why there are so few now..... :eek:

You and I obviously had similar childhoods, Merek. I don't think anyone can blame the lack of rattlers on us, though. I'm told it's the fire ants and the loss of habitat that's driving them out. I'm sorta of two minds whether I'd rather see more rattlers or more people cluttering up the highways. Nah, nevermind. I'd rather have the rattlesnakes.

I remember talking to my grandparents about the local rattlesnake population, though, and according to them it was crazy. Supposedly my great-grandfather used to kill multiple rattlers in a day, sometimes, back in the 'teens and 'twenties.

A little O.T. But I am thinking about keeping a copperhead as a pet. I know a place I can order them from.