If based in Victoria, Australia,
the following applies.
(If in another Australian state)
or in a group, company or similar,
Snakebusters® courses are regarded by most Australian herpetologists as the best available. They are the only course conducted in Victoria by a person with recognised verifiable expertise and by an internationally regarded authority on Australian snakes (Australia's Snakeman®, namely Raymond Hoser)
The Snakebusters courses are the ONLY hands-on snake handling courses in Australia where students get to hold the animals. That way they get taught the correct way the first time!
Contrary to widely posted claims on the web by a newly licenced novices to the effect that their new companies are the only accredited course provider, Snakebusters® have all relevant and necessary government accreditations. Furthermore Snakebusters® courses are the ONLY courses in Australia that satisfy the internationally recognised minumum standards for general recognition and accreditation, where the teacher has independently verifiable experience with venomous snakes in excess of 20 years and more than ten published papers in peer reviewed scientific journals on venomous snakes as either sole or senior author and in which they have no editorial input or control. Courses that fail to meet these standards and the certificates they issue are generally not recognised in the USA, EU Zone and South Africa. Graduates of Snakebusters courses are now licenced to work as venomous snake catchers in all Australian states and also overseas, including in Spain, Germany, the USA and Africa.
A snakebusters venomous snake catching course "certificate of completion" is more highly regarded than those of any other provider of similar courses for obvious reasons.
As of 2021, the only alternative courses available in Victoria that were government accredited and accepted by the relevant licencing authority (DSE) are run by novices who have less than five years (verifiable) experience with reptiles, and who have within the last five years bought a (reptile related) business name, sought relevant teaching permits and irrelevant accreditations and commenced teaching such courses as a quick money making scheme. They post regularly on reptile-related internet chat forums (often) under false and assumed names, making false claims (including defaming Raymond Hoser/Snakebusters) in a bid to bolster their inexperienced low-standard enterprises and dupe potential customers (suckers?).
Prospective students should check the bonafides and verifiable experience of course teachers before commencing such a course or they may find themselves with a worthless certificate or worse still training in wrong and dangerous methods.
As a rule Snakebusters courses are single (long) day as this is preferred to the two-day model by both teacher and students and removes the logistical problem of participants who do day one and then for unforseen reasons are unable to complete day two.
Forthcoming dates are set at times between such our other activities, with only one forward date set at a time (new dates set a week or so prior to the last set course date) (note changes due to Covid-19 (etc) and associated uncertainties).
In the event that future set dates do not match the needs of participants, the names and contact details of persons wishing to do courses are taken by us and kept on file and they are contacted as new dates are set. We take note of preferred times for courses and try to fit in with the wishes of the majority of applicants. Having said that, most group (open) courses are scheduled for either Fridays or weekends and for most people the one-day course is sufficient and preferred. When several individuals have expressed interest in doing a course, they are contacted and told of a date for the course.
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- 9 March 09 (Labor Day holiday Monday) - (Fully subscribed)
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- 24 April 2020 through 2022 - (Scratched due to Coronavirus restrictions)
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- 23 Feb 2024 - Friday
- Later course date/s are usually set one week prior to completion of the above course (last listed date). Cost is usually $500 per person, including GST and we provide lunch (Fish and chips, hamburgers, etc, or BYO).
One on one, two on one and three or more on one courses are done by arrangement, usually at $700 for one, $500 per person for two and $400 per person 3 or more (2022 prices).
Done a course with another provider previously or not sure if you can properly handle venomous snakes? ... We do Verification of Competancy (VOC) testing and can retrain anyone who cannot catch or handle snakes properly or who is not fully competant in first aid for bites and associated matters.
Our courses have the following vital components.
1 - Legal constraints in terms of reptiles (regulations and so on).
2 - Introduction to the basics of snakes and other reptiles (origins, physiology, habits, etc), including identification of reptiles to family level for all reptiles and a lesson on the use of keys as published to enable the participants to be able to identify down to species level if required.
3 - Hands on handling of all types of reptile (snake, lizard, tortoises and crocodile), with same-time explanation of the basics of each in terms of physical features, habits, handling and so on.
4 - Hands on handling of dangerously venomous snake species of all major types, including all dangerous Victorian snakes as well as most common varieties from elsewhere in Australia including Taipans (the world's most deadly snake) and Death Adders. The course participants handle all these snakes. No other snake handling course in Victoria or anywhere else in Australia offers this essential component and frankly they are grossly inferior. This "hands on" by participants is done in total safety in this course as all snakes used have been "voided" using the (world first) methods described in Hoser 2004 and later papers.
5 - Detailed "hands on" explanation of handling deadly snakes in the wild state using "voids" and/or "intact", including use of appropriate tools, containers and the like. This includes details of what not to do, use and the like.
6 - Transportation protocols (legally and not-legally binding), including that which should be done, including standardized treatment for exoparasites, keeping accurate records and the like.
7 - Husbandry of all reptiles with an emphasis on the deadly species. This is needed for when reptiles must be retained as may occur from time to time (e.g. exotic species caught, injured reptile, young unexpectedly born and perhaps held for surrender to authorities, etc). The husbandry component of our course is important as many people who do the course intend keeping venomous reptiles at some stage (usually a special licence is needed for this and this aspect is covered). It should also be noted that not all reptiles caught or sought to be removed will be of the venomous kinds.
8 - Miscellaneous aspects including how to research material and find things out if required, including explanations as to how to separate fact from fiction in places like the internet where "information" abounds, but a lot is inaccurate.
9 - On site inspections of residences that have had venomous snake "problems" to highlight the features of these areas and to explain the movements of snakes within their physical, thermal, habitat and other constraints.
10 - On site explanations of where snakes retreat to after being seen. This vital component of our course is not emulated by most other outfits and we regard this as essential. Most snakes seen by people who call a "snake catcher" have fled by the time the snake catcher arrives and most improperly trained people fail to find the reptile often leading to customer dissatisfaction. Properly trained snake catchers find most "missing" snakes with relative ease.
11 - Details of what should be carried by the snake-catcher at all times and/or as preferred optional extras.
12 - What needs to be done in terms of leaving information with people at houses visited and the like, including post capture property inspections and the like.
13 - Touting for business. What works, what doesn't and realistic expectations as to income likely from a job as snake-catcher (not much, but fun when the jobs roll in).
14 - Basics of snake venom, bites and treatment.
15 - Dealing with the public in terms of factors like, a/ general dislike or fear of reptiles, b/ the reality of when reptiles are or must be killed, c/ removing snakes and snake habitat from residences, d/ when snake habitat cannot be removed, e/ public safety with snakes and in snake infested areas, f/ other matters of relevance
16 - All participants are given a copy of the "Hoser Wildlife Collection" CD-rom which has the full page proof's of the 240 page reptile "Bible" Australian Reptiles and Frogs published in 1989 and now out-of-print in hard copy due to demand for the book, over 300 definitive scientific papers and articles by Raymond Hoser, published in journals worldwide, most individual papers in several formats, including MS Word and Adobe Acrobat enabling easy searching for information as needed at any stage and also including magnificent photos (The CD has thousands of quality photos on it). The full texts of 8 other books and a number of definitive reptile papers and articles by other leading herpetologists and reproduced on the CD-rom with their kind permission. (To buy the publications on the CD-rom individually as "hard copy" would cost over one thousand dollars!).
17 - Certificate of completion (including legal statement) at end of course. This (and a signed indemnity) is sufficient for DSE (Victoria) to issue a permit as a reptile "controller" (to catch and relocate snakes), provided you satisfy their other statutory criteria (A/ A police check provided to the department B/ A properly filled in application form is given to DSE and C/ The prescribed fee (an annual fee) is paid.)
Download a pdf summary of the course here.
Further Notes:The time of the course is usually 8 hours (4 hrs for one on one, similar and "Industry courses"), although it is best to allow a full day for the course (one day course). Due to the "fun" nature of the course, time literally flies and the day appears to be over almost before it starts. Usually courses start at 7 AM, run to 3 PM, but we say allow to finish later than this as we like to make sure all participants are fully briefed and satisfied in terms of their ultimate objectives. Our objectives are to teach people the "right way" to deal with reptiles, not just to make a quick buck, and to that extent we'd rather put in extra time and effort if that's what it takes. The cost (2016) is $400 per person (payable on day). We can issue a tax invoice with ABN if need be. The venue (unless otherwise stated) is at the Snakebusters facility (488 Park Road, Park Orchards, Victoria, 3114, (Corner of Kebun Court)). Best to park outside the property on grass "nature strip" on arrival. At the start of the course, you will have to read and sign a standard "indemnity" or "waiver of claim" to protect both Snakebusters, DSE and agents in terms of snakes and bite related incidents, claims and the like. If unwilling to sign such a form, please don't book for the course.
Bring long pants and covered shoes to wear on the day (as needed) and food is provided (from local shop), which should be sufficient for you (ff you have special diet needs, please bring own food/drink).
The teacher is Australia's Snakeman®, Raymond Hoser. He's been at the leading edge of Australian herpetology for more than four decades. He's caught and kept deadly snakes for more than 50 years and has discovered and named dozens of species of deadly snakes including Brown (Pseudonaja), Death Adders (9 of 15 named species, Genus Acanthophis), three of four species in the newly named genus Pailsus, Tropidechis (sadlieri and jessejacksoni) from far north Queensland, a sea snake from West Australia, various species of Cobra, more species of rattlesnake than anyone else ever, over a dozen species of Viper from Africa, Europe, the Middle-east and Middle America and many other venomous species. Hoser is also the globally recognized name authority for Python species and genera, including the world's longest snake, Boas, Blind Snakes, File Snakes, Tree Snakes, Ground Snakes, Kukri Snakes and others.
In fact Hoser has named more species and genera of snakes than anyone else on the planet and by a sizeable margin. He has also named hundreds of species of lizard from Australia, the Middle-east, Asia and Middle America (more than anyone else alive), dozens of turtles from all over the globe (more than anyone else alive), 20 species of mammals, over 100 species of frogs as well as some fish.
Methods used to catch and keep reptiles first used by Hoser and now standard in the industry include the use of wide based pinning sticks (e.g. squee-gee) to immobilize wild snakes, plastic containers as a safe option/alternative to contain wild snakes instead of bags, plastic tubs as snake cages for all snakes (as opposed to juveniles only), proactive treatment of captive snakes infected with viruses such as Paramyxovirus and Reovirus, which previously were regarded as an unavoidable death sentence for affected snakes, venomoid surgery via internal (as opposed to external) excision of venom glands, use of alternative snake foods and supplements (alternative to rodents), including meats, fish, bones, chicken necks and even vegemite TM, as well as other matters of significance.
Unlike other "snakies" who claim many years of (unverifiable) experience with snakes, Raymond Hoser's association with Deadly Snakes can be easily tracked through his scientific publications in peer-reviewed Scientific journals commencing in his teens (he is now in his 50's (2015)), and before that, newspaper clips from when in the 1970's and early 1980's he had venomous snakes (including Death Adders) stolen from his home in Sydney. No other teacher in Australia has such a notable CV in terms of venomous Australian snakes.
For persons wishing to register interest in the venomous snake handling course/s please phone 0412-777-211 or (in Victoria, Australia) 9812 3322.
Legal note: Snakebusters are the ONLY government licenced reptile demonstrators operating in Victoria, to have had approval from an ethics committee, Department of Primary Industry (DPI) clearance AND been formally cleared by Worksafe Victoria to take venomous species into public places for the purposes of doing demonstrations.
We have had numerous complaints about an unscrupulous so-called "snakehandler" doing so-called venomous snake handling courses in Melbourne, including their totally false claim that theirs is the only such recognised course (made to entrap unsuspecting novices).
This person is of limited experience (he alleges 10 years on his website, but has had a "demonstrator's" licence only since late 2005 and has since in writing admitted to no verifiable evidence prior to that date) and the course is of dubious value and not recognized by persons and entities including "Snakebusters" and various wildlife authorities. We and others do not refer work to persons who have completed such courses on the basis that it's our view that the teacher fails to properly train people and teaches people handling methods that are both dangerous to the person and likewise for the snake.
For example the teacher promotes use of metal tongs sometimes sold as "Pillstrom Tongs". These are not suitable for attempting to restrain moving snakes and have the added hazard of often breaking the snake's ribs and backbone. We have seen snakes caught with these tongs that have been fatally injured. Persons using these tongs have stated that they prefer to break the snake's back rather than get bitten, but besides the fact that the argument is questionable, the tongs themselves are cumbersome and actually increase the bite risk for the person using them.
On 5 June 2006, a man by the name of Jason Hall, died from a Taipan bite. He was bitten after inflicting pain on the snake with metal "snake tongs" as taught to him by a so-called snake handler. In an earlier case, a spokesman for the Australian Venom Research Unit, identified a person in 2004 that had been rushed to hospital as a result of a serious, life-threatening bite after attempting to capture a venomous snake using "tongs" as shown during a so-called snake-handling course taught by a so-called snake handler with no serious knowledge of the subject.
Tongs are also illegal to be used to handle snakes in Victoria and all other Australian states under existing cruelty to animals laws (in Victoria see: Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 , Section 9 (1) (a and c)), wildlife protection laws and workplace safety laws. Because tongs increase the risk of adverse bite, their use is also illegal under the Victorian OH and S Act 2004 and equicalent laws elsewhere. This "snake handler" is apparantly immume from prosecution due to an evidently corrupt and close relationship with key DSE officers who protect him. This man also brags on internet forums and in print publications of his knowingly breaking the law and being able to avoid prosecution. This does not however remove risks taken and serious venomous snake bites arising with students who graduate from his "courses" resulting from improper teaching and handling methods.
We've also been advised that the only "venomous" snake that the above-mentioned Victorian course participants are allowed to handle is the relatively innocuous and only mildly venomous back-fanged Brown Tree Snake (Boiga irregularis) which as a colubrid is not related to any venomous species from Victoria (family elapidae - which includes all the deadly ones with fangs at the front of the mouth) and hence gives the course participants no effective preparation for handling venomous snakes in the state of Victoria or for that matter pretty much anywhere else.
A poor quality 28 page leaflet (complete with blurred photos) handed to persons doing the course is replete with inaccurate and improperly referenced statements.
Also refer to the link at:
(see "Warnings: Live reptile shows: New and unscrupulous operators").
Snake catching courses for groups (Victoria), and businesses, interstate (non Victorian) bookings, overseas, etc (Course details, booking info, etc).
Raymond Hoser - why he's the best venomous snake course teacher in Australia.
His CV with verification of details.
Venomous snake course warning.
Non-urgent email inquiries via our:
Urgent inquiries phone:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:
(03) 9812 3322 or 0412 777 211