Whether you are hunting, fishing, hiking, or just doing simple day-to-day tasks, it's always best to be aware of snakes.
The scare of a bite from a harmless snake is bad enough in itself, let alone the fear of a potentially fatal strike. Here is a simple how-to guide compiled of ten rules that can be followed by anyone, anywhere to hopefully give you not only more awareness, but also a little more confidence in your preparation in avoiding a snake bite.
1. Keep it Slow
Always keep a pace that will let the potential danger ahead have time to remove itself from you, the potential predator. A slow, hearty pace will give the snake ample time to reassure itself that you are a possible threat and that it should be moving on as quickly as possible to avoid crossing your path. If you scare a venomous snake just as much as it scares you, that's when panic sets in for the both of you, and often when a snake will strike.
2. Don't Be the Hero
If an unlikely encounter is at hand DO NOT attempt to drive the snake away or kill it. Many serious and fatal snake bites have taken place because of the victim attempting to remove or kill the snake. Give the snake time to go about its business. If a close encounter does arise recognize the snakes immediate direction and back away, keeping a careful eye as not to lose sight of its wayward direction to eliminate the risk of further encounter.
3. Wear Protection
If at all possible, wear some sort of high rising thick boots and or pants when coursing through thick and rocky terrain or any other terrain that could potentially harbor serpents. Good clothing made from materials that can save you from a bite is one of the best ways to counter the possibility of these situations.
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4. Know Your Snakes
Gain as much knowledge as possible about not only indigenous venomous snakes, but also nonvenomous snakes to eliminate the risk of confusion. The last thing you want is to discover a (harmless) snake and let your guard down.
5. Know Your Surroundings
Similar to number five, while researching the native snakes, put a little time and effort researching their most likely places to be found, i.e. rocky hillsides, moist hardwood, dead and/or fallen trees, etc. Knowing the possible locations of the reclusive animals will slim down the risk of a close encounter of the unwanted kind.
6. Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick
Keep some sort of stick or other long easy carry item in case of a situation that you cannot easily escape. A nice hike on a scenic trail can lead you to some trying places, and these places are the last place you want to run into a potential threat. If you are ever put into a position like this be sure that there are ABSOLUTELY no other escape routes before attempting to deter the snake off of your path. Refer to #2.
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7. You Are On the Snake's Time
Remember, like all other aspects of nature, you are on the snake's time. If the snake is stubborn and you got close enough for it to take a defensive position, take your time letting the snake do its thing. A close encounter is not a situation in which you want to hurry any reptile, or any animal for that matter. You are in their territory and on their time, respect them and you will find the reply mutual.
8. Stay Calm
Remain calm, assess the situation and your surroundings. Do not let the heat of the moment fluster you in ways that can lead to a bad decision. Realize all available options to completely avoid contact with the animal, process these details and carry out a well organized plan.
9. Snakes Are Nocturnal
Remember that the majority of venomous snakes are diurnal, meaning they hunt at night. Take caution when engaging in any nighttime activities because most snakes that are potentially dangerous to humans do thrive at night. Always keep in mind that you should never let your guard down or put yourself in a position to be bitten, day or night.
10. Have Survival Supplies
Keep necessary equipment on hand to deal with the situation in case of a bite. These things consist of, but are not limited to, venom extractors, walkie talkies if hiking with a friend or group, a cell phone in case assistance is needed, and most of all, common sense and knowledge that will go further than any other equipment that can be purchased.
Do you have questions or comments about this article? If so please feel free to post your feedback below.