I think the following basic equipment is essential for attempting to make that transition from a snake handler to someone who collects data for addressing human reptile conflicts and documenting ophidian diversity in an area/region.
1. Smith’s Volumes of British Fauna- for correct ID and basic taxonomy.
2. Snakes of India by Romulus Whitaker and Ashok Captain- for basic taxonomy and comparison of color morphs, etc.
3. Restraining tubes- for safe restrain of snakes for closer observations and study.
4. A detailed Data sheet that helps in collecting data of location, species, habitat, etc.
5. A hand held Global Positioning System that helps mark co ordinates and locations, altitudes etc for further reference. This unit can be taken by a group of handlers and shared.
6. A hand held Hygrometer or Kestrel that helps collect temperature, humidity, wind speed data for locations.
7. A good spring balance for determining weight of the individuals.
8. A head loupe/magnifier/hand held magnifying glass for scale counts, closer observations.
9. A set of snake bags for keeping snakes. Bottles and gunny bags is bad news.
10. A set of snake hooks for various species that are designed to keep both the snake handler and snake safe. Tongs, of any design or size injure snakes and are not advisable.
11. A set of OHP marker pens to aid taxonomy, a field notebook to write observations and a computer to fill in available data.
12. A sense of responsibility, zero showmanship, loads of patience and of course legal permissions from relevant authorities for rescue, study and documentation.