This article was written by Connor, one of our founding editors. Connor is a full-time travel and lifestyle photographer with extensive experience in the outdoors industry.
For the most part, venomous snakes are something you’d rather avoid. That being said, there are certain occasions where handling potentially deadly snakes either becomes necessary, such as removal, or a fairly unusual hobby like having one as a pet. You may even want snake-proof gloves for gardening, as they tend to provide far better protection than your run-of-the-mill gloves from Walmart, for example.
Even if it isn’t venomous, a high-quality pair of protective gloves will give you the peace of mind when handling snakes. Bites hurt, venomous snake or not!
There is a wide variety of snake bite proof clothing you can choose to add to your wardrobe. Many of these products are ideally suited for protection from natural snakes in the wild, such as snake-proof boots, chaps, and gaiters.
Gloves, however, differ slightly in that you are probably very aware you’re going to be up close and personal with these magnificent creatures. Some of the best snake handling gloves will give you the confidence required to handle it properly. Although all gloves are designed for nearly the same purpose, there are a variety of options to choose from, and here are some of our most recommended.
However, don’t think of gloves as a license to act without care or proper safety preparation. Snake handling gloves should be an additional measure to add safety to a situation, not a 100% guarantee. If you are to handle a snake, especially one that may be venomous, you must exercise extreme caution. Know how to handle a snake properly, making sure you do not agitate or provoke it.
Snakes also do have a long reach, sometimes unexpectedly so, which means you have to make sure placement and distance remain primary concerns. After all, gloves will only cover you up to your elbow, or thereabouts.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you plan on handling a venomous snake, we recommend making doubly sure you are buying the correct gloves. Sometimes, external links can change depending on a third-party website, so take caution when following links from the reviews below. Of course, we do our best to ensure they’re always up-to-date (last update: February 2023).
These gloves are the best on the market for snake handling, no question about it. They consistently rank as the favorites for zoos, snake handlers, pet stores, you name it. This is because of their durability, obvious quality, and maneuverability.
And, most importantly, they’re one of the few products out there that will protect you from venomous snake bites. They have been tested with a wide range of snakes, including the Black Mamba, Forest Cobra, King Cobra, and Cottonmouth, for example.
The R8E 3180 are also applicable with other animals, such as stingrays, bats, meerkats, lizards, birds, cats, and dogs. Basically, anything that can sting or bite you, this HexArmor product will protect you.
What makes these gloves superior to others that offer the same level of protection is the high performance dexterity. When you first take these out of the box, they’ll feel rigid and uncomfortable. But that’s okay; if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, you will find them soft and flexible. All you need to do is put them in the washer at 30 degrees centigrade, adding just a little bit of fabric softener. Let them dry at room temperature and they’ll be ready to go.
In terms of coverage, these will fully protect your entire hand and forearm. Just make sure you get the right size. The company offers Medium (8), Large (9), and Extra Large (10).
IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTICE: HexArmor offers two products that are very similar to each other (we review the ‘other’ below). If you need full protection from snake bites, this is the one you want. The 400R6E is a great product also, but will not offer the same level of protection.
HexArmor is one of the leading providers of protective gloves and this is no truer than their excellent 400R6E model. Specifically designed for cut and puncture protection, they offer a comforting level of safety.
The Hercules 400R6E is part of HexArmor’s heavy-duty range of products, yet still offers a satisfying amount of dexterity. It can often be the case that a pair of gloves hold up well but lacks in movement. HexArmor seems to have tackled this issue effectively.
Why the high price tag? Well, with these gloves, you’re paying for a trust-worthy brand, maximum protection, and undeniable comfort. Although you can opt for a much cheaper product, it is often worth forking out a bit extra for high-quality protection. This is especially true when you’re dealing with dangerous creatures.
So does it offer full protection against venomous snakes? The answer is a clear no, as these gloves are not fully puncture resistant. They have plenty of use cases, including handling snakes, but do not rely on them to offer 100% protection against venom.
We can’t emphasize this enough. There are a lot of reviews out there that will tell you these are snake-proof, but that is because they are very similar to the Hercules R8E. These are more widely available and look almost identical, which leads to the confusion.
If you’re looking for a set of gloves which has been specifically geared towards holding up against snakes, then these are for you.
Focused on protection from snakes and other reptiles, these high-quality gloves are made from heavy-duty leather.
Ideally, these gloves are best suited for smaller, non-venomous snakes.
One great feature we like about these is the addition of staples for added strength. In addition, the past elbow-length glove is perfect for those who may be reaching into a container or concerned that the snake could strike the forearm.
Although not designed specifically for use with animals, these top of the range protective gloves are one of the sturdiest and most reliable on the market. Steiner Industries is a company known for developing high-quality protective gear for the welding niche.
That said, many snake and reptile handlers love to rely on them because of how well they hold up when it comes to the crucial bite and scratch test.
When you’re dealing with snakes, you need to be able to make good use of your fingers and remain aware of grip strength. Made from cowhide leather, the gloves provide ample flexibility and comfort, while being incredibly durable.
They’ve been extremely well made and extend to the elbow crease for most people, which is an ideal length to protect the most vulnerable parts of your arm.
Another decent set of snake and reptile protective gloves coming in from Hestia, this time. It’s a ‘one size fits all’ design, made from a combination of cowhide leather and Kevlar.
You’ll often find these gloves used by professionals working in kennels, zoos, and pet shops which is reflective of the quality.
Sitting at around $20, this is an excellent price for a good set of protective gloves. What we commend about this product and the others we’ve reviewed, is the high level of dexterity which remains despite how robust they are. No longer is the case that you should compromise on flexibility for a good amount of protection.
We’ve decided to include this product into our snake bite-proof gloves reviews due to the positive feedback and reliability of the brand. Designed for welding, these gloves have been fitted with heavy-duty padding and are made from genuine American deerskin. In addition to deerskin, they’ve been sewn with Kevlar thread and feature a boar hide leather patch on the palm which is incredibly robust.
We particularly enjoy that they’ve been designed to conform to your hand’s shape, meaning that they fit super well. This is a feature that is often left out of other popular welding gloves.
You’ll usually find that one of the first things to show signs of wear and tear is the stitching. Unlike other gloves, these have been sewn with Kevlar thread for added durability. This helps to extend the life of the glove, offering you protection over a longer period of time.
The first thing you need to be aware of when you’re investing in protective gloves is that very few, if any, guarantee you of 100% protection. You should always do your own research by reading online reviews and even ask the important question to the brand.
That said, here’s what we recommend that you look for in a quality pair of snake gloves.
Most companies tend to use leather as the primary material for protection. It holds up well for most intended purposes and is incredibly durable over a long period of time. It’s also one of the most cost-effective options.
Kevlar is another common choice. It’s a brand of high-strength synthetic fiber and is often the go-to material for motorcyclists as well as those looking for protection from animals that can deliver a deadly nip. One of the reasons this is so popular is that it is not just strong, but also comfortable and lightweight.
Yes, protection is good (and necessary) but there is no use in going for something and not being able to feel what you’re doing. Snakes require care when being handled, otherwise, they could become defensive and try to strike.
We’ve deliberately reviewed gloves which will allow you to wiggle your fingers and aren’t overly rigid, yet offer piece of mind when it comes to bite prevention.
In this case, length really does matter. Snakes can strike some distance and that strike is often hard to predict. That’s why you should consider buying gloves which offer protection up to your elbow.
Although you’re more likely to suffer a bite on the hand, you can’t guarantee that they won’t attempt to strike the forearm.
You may have a top of the range pair of gloves, but that doesn’t mean you should act like a bull in a china shop. Treat your snake with the care and delicate touch it deserves. Snakes are highly receptive to your movements, meaning that if you’re too heavy-handed or twitchy, they’re more likely to bite.
We’ve actually written a mini rule book when it comes to snake handling. Although it’s by no means an extensive guide, it will offer you some essential reminders of the dos and don’ts. Hint: wear gloves!