In partnership with the Rattlesnake Conservancy, Save The Snakes is proud to offer a Venomous Handling and Certification Program.

Level 1 – Venomous Handling Certification – 2-day Course – $399

The curriculum developed by the Rattlesnake Conservancy and taught by Save The Snakes sets the standard for safety, husbandry, and protocol for working with venomous reptiles. Our Level 1 Program is the leading venomous training program in the United States and has been taught to students across the country. If you are a land manager, wildlife biologist, first responder, zoo professional, herpetology enthusiast, photographer, or private citizen looking to learn how to safely handle and relocate venomous reptiles, this course is for you!

This course is two days and is taught on-site at our facility in Sacramento, California. However, our team also has the ability to travel to your area in Northern California and Western Nevada.

Topics covered in the course include:

  • Hands on individual training, guided by one of our professional instructors.
  • Handling methods for non-venomous and venomous snakes.
  • Learn about the life history, toxinology, and ecology of native venomous reptiles.
  • Emergency field care for envenomation
  • Methods of relocation

    This course consists of 2-days of intense training with expert instructors Save The Snakes Founder & Executive Director Michael Starkey and Save The Snakes Board Member & Wildlife Biologist Eric Stitt. The first day of the Level 1 Course involves 8 hours of classroom work, where students learn about venom toxinology, native venomous snakes in their region, snakebite management, captive venomous reptiles, and disease monitoring and management.

    On day 2, students complete a written test on the information they learned the day before and begin learning to work with venomous reptiles. Students learn about the various type of handling equipment available to safely work with venomous reptiles, how to spot venomous reptiles in the wild, and handle multiple species and sizes of venomous snakes. Routinely, students will work with Northern Pacific Rattlesnakes (Crotalus oreganus oreganus) and other native Californian rattlesnake species.

    This course is applicable for novices and individuals with entry-level experience or may be taken by advanced individuals as a refresher on information learned.

    Save The Snakes is scheduling courses for the spring, summer, and fall of 2021. The next course dates are listed below:
    June 26-27
    July 24-25
    August 28-29


    Participation in the venomous handling courses by Save The Snakes, does not guarantee certification by our organization. Students must successfully pass a written and practical test to achieve certification. Completion of the course does not substitute a venomous permit or other permit that may be required to keep venomous or handle reptiles within your state of residency. Before collecting or possessing venomous reptiles, students should contact their state wildlife management agency to ensure no permits are required prior to keeping or handling venomous reptiles.

    Cancellation policy

    By registering for a training course sponsored, hosted, or taught by Save The Snakes, you acknowledge and accept the following cancellation policy. Notice of a student’s intent to cancel a registration must be made in writing to Save The Snakes by email to or by mail and is subject to the following terms:

    • Students whose cancellation request is received in excess of 30 days prior to the start date of the training activity will incur a $25.00 administrative fee and remaining costs refunded.
    • Students whose cancellation request is received within 14 to 29 days prior to the start date of the training activity will incur an administration fee equal to 50% of the obligated fee.
    • Students whose cancellation request is received within 13 days prior to the start date or after the commencement of the training activity will incur an administration fee equal to 100% of the obligated fee.
    • One substitute is permitted per registrant for the entire course; daily substitutions are not permitted. Save The Snakes must be notified prior to the first day of the course when a substitution will occur. Save The Snakes will also allow the registration fee to be applied to a different course if the request is made more than 14 days prior to the start date of the training. This request must be made in writing, subject to approval by Save The Snakes, and can be used during a period of time not exceeding 12 months from the original course registration.
    • Save The Snakes reserves the right to cancel courses, change course location, change instructors, or change course content. In the event that a course must be canceled or the location of the course changed, registrants will be informed 30 days prior to the start of the course and a full tuition refund issued to students.
    • Save The Snakes is not responsible for travel costs incurred. Please do not purchase non-refundable airline tickets more than 30 days before the course. Should a course require cancellation or change in location, Save The Snakes is not responsible for non-refundable airline tickets.

    Special Thanks to Tomahawk Live Trap, Sköld and Vision

    Save The Snakes is honored to receive support from companies who share our snake conservation vision and who wish to sponsor our educational programs. During Save The Snakes Venomous Trainings, all instructors and participants use snake hooks and tongs created by Tomahawk Live Trap. Our instructors and participants keep themselves safe by wearing snake gaiters produced by Sköld. Lastly, our ambassador snakes, which are used for our Venomous Snake Trainings and educational events throughout California, are housed in state of the art reptile enclosures, produced by Vision Racks and Cages. These three companies truly believe in the snake conservation efforts of Save The Snakes and we are so thankful to have their dedicated support.