Day -1 : Surgery

Ok, here we are, we have snakes and we have transmitters. Now with months and weeks and days of planning all behind us it is surgery day. The penultimate day, the day when we find out which of our snakes are strong enough for the implantation of the transmitters.


So, the breakdown;

Forest Cobra number 1 – Vader
Weighed in at 1.6591 kg

Forest Cobra number 2 – Gizmo
Weighed in at 1.417 kg

Black Mamba number 1 – Chelsea
Weighed in at 2.355 kg

Black Mamba number 2 – Lucas
Weighed in at 1.690kg


All the snakes were sedated with Donald schultz tried and tested mixture. All injections were done between the scales to prevent adding scar tissue to the snakes and damaging their scales more than we needed to.



Transmitters were made by Victor Hugo and are of a similar size to those attached to bees! But ours are quite a bit bigger based upon the duration we need them to work – nearly all the size of the units is the battery.


The white bit is the battery, the little black blob near the end is the transmitter.


The trickiest part of inserting the units was manipulating the aerial into the right place.



The surgery went well and with deft stitches Suzanne managed to line the scales up almost exactly to where they had been.



If it wasn’t for the blue of the stitches you wouldn’t have realised there was an incision at all!


A little sleepy afterwards the snakes will spend the evening in luxury accommodation (heated garage) and after a quick health check all that was left to do was treat them for mites/lice/ticks.

We will check up on them in the morning!

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9 Responses to Day -1 : Surgery

  1. Matt Herbert June 30, 2011 at 6:20 pm #

    We’re they milked for venom research while you had them?

    • Lacey July 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      Good afternoon Matt, Thank you for the comment!
      Unfortunately we didn’t milk them for their venom on this occasion.

    • Makaela August 9, 2011 at 10:13 am #

      Now I feel stupid. That’s cleared it up for me

  2. OsMonkey July 4, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    You say the transmitter is small but compared to the snake itself in the picture, it looks quite big, can you clarify?

    Photos of the surgery are great, few people may say yuk but I think its great to get everyone reading as involved as possible.

    • Lacey July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

      Of course! The transmitter itself is quite small, the larger size is due to the size battery we are using. As we wanted a long term study of the snakes behaviour to get a true representation of the effect of seasonality our batteries will last between 8-13 months. Within the yellow tube you can clearly see the white battery and then above it is a little black blob – these are the actual electronics of the transmitter.

      We tried to keep the photos clear and detailed but not too gory, I am glad we seem to have got the balance right!

      • Nelle August 9, 2011 at 7:46 am #

        Geez, that’s unbelievable. Kudos!

  3. OsMonkey July 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm #

    They could stand to be gorier ;)

    brilliant pics though, did you take them?

    • Millicent August 9, 2011 at 7:51 am #

      Great thinking! That really breaks the mold!


  1. » Goodbye and good luck Gizmo!! - September 13, 2011

    […] Gizmo was just a little too small and did not react well to the telemetry unit after the Surgery. There was only one thing to do, let Gizmo go without the transmitter. So back into surgery a few […]

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