How To Get Gorilla Tape Off of a Snake

For some reasons which don’t involve me being the most clever I’ve ever been in affixing a thermostat probe to the inside of my snake enclosure (hint: don’t use tape), I’ve discovered how to get gorilla tape off of a snake. This should also work for duct tape and other kinds of tape, too.

One of the problems, here, is that snake skin turns out to be, under the scales, much thinner than human skin. The smoothness of their scales and lack of skin oil also seems to produce a much stronger bond to the tape than it does to our skin. Put those together and you have a dangerous situation: if you pull too hard—or if the tape gets stuck on something and the snake pulls on it—it could rip the snake’s skin since the tape is stronger.

Based on advice I got, I poured some mineral oil into a dixie cup and then used a q-tip periodically dipped into the mineral oil to rub the mineral oil onto the tape where it contacts the snake. This required a great deal of patience. It took me about an hour and a half to get the tape off of my snake and it was only about a half inch long strip (2.5″ wide, IIRC). What I found especially helpful was to rotate the q-tip (sideways) between the tape and the snake. This applies very gentle pressure to pull the tape away from the snake and at the same time works the mineral oil into the very edge of where the adhesive is contacting the snake, which is the place where the oil needs to get in order to dissolve the adhesive. It takes time, and it takes patience, but it does eventually work.

NOTE: there are many kinds of mineral oil. Look for the one sold as a laxitive, because that won’t be poisonous if it ends up getting a little in the snake’s mouth. This is very much not true of some other kinds of mineral oil, or of other oils like goo gone. (When in doubt, look at whether it’s meant to be swallowed or whether it tells you to contact poison control if you swallow it.)

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