Venomous Training

Home  >  Services  > Training

Teaching Philosophy

Our staff strives to provide professional courses that encourage a safety culture. One of the first questions many people ask is "have you ever been bit"? Here at the TRC, we are proud to say that no staff member or student has ever been envenomated, largely due to the strong safety protocols and culture we have built within our organization.

Our students go into the workforce with a mindset that prepares them to handle potentially dangerous situations confidently and safely. Examples of people who have taken our course are military installation land managers, local reptile society chapters, students, and zoo keepers. Our courses involve a hybrid of academic training regarding native venomous reptiles, emergency snakebite management, and practical experience with venomous and non-venomous reptiles. 

Staff at the TRC are permitted to own and handle venomous reptiles by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and are bonded for bodily injury. Certification in these courses does not substitute the training required by FWC to achieve a venomous permit, but is meant to provide supplementary training to field professionals and those looking to expand their knowledge about venomous reptiles.

Looking for other types of training?

The Rattlesnake Conservancy also offers courses that are specifically designed for captive husbandry, but are scheduled privately based on interest. Contact us for more information!

Does TRC offer safety presentations?

Yes! The Rattlesnake Conservancy will do safety presentations for communities, organizations, classrooms, or other individuals. Contact us for more info!

Does TRC do educational programs?

Absolutely! We love to go to classrooms or other venues to educate people about snakes!

Venomous Handling Certification - Introductory Relocator Course
1-day course - $100

:This course is tailored to help anyone who is concerned about snakes in or around your home. Whether you are knowledgeable about native snakes or have never seen one in person, this course provides safe and useful information to help out homeowners to safely relocate snakes! This course is one day and is taught on-site at various locations across the southeast and southwest. We have hosted our other courses at military installations, nature centers, and conservation facilities. Some general information about the course:

  • Hands on individual training, guided by one of our professional instructors.

  • Handling methods for non-venomous and venomous snakes.

  • Tools and equipment that can be used

  • Methods of relocation

This course consists of 1 full day of training with expert instructors Derek Dykstra and Tiffany Bright. The day consists of a lecture and presentation, where students learn about native venomous snakes and harmless snakes in their region, proper handling equipment, and ethical relocation practices.


The second half of the day, students get the opportunity to practice the handling techniques learned earlier in the day. Hands on training will begin with various nonvenomous snakes covering how to move and secure them with various household items. Students will then be given the opportunity to get one on one training with a venomous snake.

This course is applicable for novices and individuals with limited to no experience with snakes, venomous and nonvenomous alike. 

The Rattlesnake Conservancy 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 over 100 students. If you are a land manager, environmental consultant, 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 various locations across the southeast. We have hosted our course at military installations, nature centers, and conservation facilities. Topics covered in the course include:

  • Hands on individual training, guided by one of our professional instructors. For information about instructors, go to Our Staff

  • 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 Tony Daly-Crews, Derek Dykstra and Tiffany Bright. 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, snake bite management, captive venomous reptiles, and disease monitoring and management.


On day 2, students get up bright and early to take a written test on the information they learned the day before and begin hands on training 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 cottonmouths (Agkistrodon c. piscivorus), canebrake rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus), copperheads (Agkistrodon c. contortrix), and eastern diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus adamanteus).

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.

Venomous Handling Certification - Level 1*
2-day course - $299
Level 2 Venomous Handling Certification*
2-day course - $399

The Level 2 Course covers advanced topics beyond the Level 1 Course. Level 1 is a prerequisite for this course, or can be taken concurrently when offered together with the Level 1 Course.

Information covered in this course includes in depth information on venom toxinology, hands on practical experience with venomous reptiles, safe handling restraint, and biological sampling.

Day one is a full day, with the first half of the day consisting of classroom work and refreshing information covered in Level 1. After the classroom portion, instructors allow students to refresh their handling skills using snake hooks prior to moving on to advanced techniques, such as tubing snakes. The second day is exclusively dedicated to handling, restraining, and scenario practice.

Student Maximum is eight students. Because these are smaller classes and involve more hands on work and liability, course costs are slightly higher than Level 1. After students complete the Level 2 Course, they should feel comfortable handling venomous reptiles in a field environment. Our students go onto to do biological research, work in zoos, and maintain a safe handling record. We are proud to set the standards in safe and responsible venomous reptile handling and restraint.


* Participation in the venomous handling courses by the Eastern Diamondback Conservation Foundation, Inc., DBA The Rattlesnake Conservancy, 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 The Rattlesnake Conservancy, you acknowledge and accept the following cancellation policy. Notice of a student's intent to cancel a registration must be made in writing to The Rattlesnake Conservancy 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. The Rattlesnake Conservancy must be notified prior to the first day of the course when a substitution will occur. The Rattlesnake Conservancy 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 training. This request must be made in writing, subject to approval by The Rattlesnake Conservancy, and can be used during a period of time not exceeding 12 months from the original course registration.


The Rattlesnake Conservancy 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 full tuition refund issued to students.


The Rattlesnake Conservancy 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, The Rattlesnake Conservancy is not responsible for non-refundable airline tickets.

Jacksonville, FL |  |  1-800-690-5638

Subscribe for Updates

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon

© 2019 The Rattlesnake Conservancy, 501(c)(3) corporation