Snake Eater – How to Field Dress a Snake

Snake Eater – How to Field Dress a Snake

Snake Eater is a slang term for a tough guy, or a special operations soldier.  It probably derives it’s origin from a practical exercise of the skill we’re going to be talking about today undertaken by trainees of the U.S. Army’s Jungle Warfare Training Center.  Light Infantry and Special Operations graduates of ‘Jungle School’ had a reputation…and they earned it.  Today’s lesson on how to field dress a snake is taken directly from the U.S. Army Ranger Handbook, SH 21-76 and is for informational purposes only.  Don’t try this at home, or abroad!

Take extreme care in securing snakes–the bite of some poisonous snakes can be fatal. Even after a snake’s head is cut off, its reflex action can cause it to bite, injecting poison. The best time to capture snakes is in the early morning or late evening when temperatures are low and they move slow. Kill or use a long stick to pin down its head and capture it. To pick up a snake, place the index finger on the top rear of its head with your thumb and middle finger on either side of the head behind the jaws. Keep your index finger on top of snake’s head to prevent it from turning inside its skin and biting you. 


All poisonous and nonpoisonous fresh water and land snakes are edible.  To prepare snakes for eating use the following steps (Figure 11-11):

How to Field Dress a Snake

Figure 11-11

(a) Grip the snake firmly behind the head and cut off the head with a knife.  [Andrew’s Note:  Bury the snake’s severed head and place a rock over it to assure no accidental injection of poison if you suspect your snake was poisonous.]

(b) Slit the belly and remove the innards. (You can use the innards for baiting traps and snares).

(c) Skin the snake. (You can use the skin for improvising, belts, straps, or similar items).


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