A few days ago, a mesmerizing video of what seemed to be a giant python caught in a PVC-pipe surfaced on Reddit. The clip shows a snake gliding smoothly through water before becoming ensnared in a homespun snake trap. But if viewers take a closer look, they may notice that the snake itself is actually the least interesting part of this footage.
Redditors were able to track down the original video of this snake trap. What they found was a creative trap-maker, and some even more creative camera angles. If you pan out, you’ll find that what appears to be a small pond is actually a puddle, the chicken used as bait is actually a chick, and the “giant anaconda” is actually a smaller-than-average reticular python, which Inverse confirmed by consulting Paul Bartelt, P.h.D co-editor of the Journal of Herpetology.
So while the video as it appeared on Reddit may be a bit of a troll, it’s still an “obviously effective trap,” to use Bartelt’s words.
When the snake is shown entering the tube, it slithers through an un-tightened noose. When it reaches the end of the tube, it runs head-first into a stick held in place by a bent tree, as shown below:
Once the snake makes contact with that stick, it releases the tension, and closes a noose around the snake, trapping it against the roof of the PVC pipe. The PVC pipe trap is effective if you’re looking to catch any type of snake, but it’s only one of a myriad of snake traps out there.
While this video shows a reticular python, these snakes are often confused with Burmese pythons — equally large snakes that are good swimmers. Burmese pythons have become an invasive species in the Florida Everglades; the National Park Service estimates that they’ve removed 1,491 of these snakes since 2000.
To remedy this, the USADA finally patented a humane trap for these animals; one that allows them to remove the pythons without killing them. The new US government-patented snake trap uses similar principles, but without a noose. Instead, it uses two trip pans on the floor of a cage that ensures that only the massive Burmese python — and not the smaller native snakes — have the strength to set the trap off.
“This trap was developed with the invasive Burmese python in mind,” trap inventor John Humphrey said in a release. “It capitalizes on their larger length and weight.”
If there’s anything to be learned from this video, it’s that snake catching is a highly technical art that requires cunning and a certain degree of expertise, especially if the intent is to simply trap and not kill. But at least we have a better solution than what some python hunters have resorted to: grabbing the snakes and wrestling them to the ground