Knowing how to prevent snake bites while hiking is very important.
Although the number of snakebites on hikers is low, well, it is better to err on the side of caution.
What states have venomous snakes?
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
This does not mean that other states don’t have snakes, both venomous and non-venomous. They do! Therefore, if you are a regular outdoorsman, you need to know how to avoid snake bites.
How To Avoid Snakes While Hiking
Your safety while on the trails starts with you. This should not be too hard when you are hiking in snake country.
You see, on the food chain, human beings are quite far away when it comes to snakes, well, unless you encounter a hungry anaconda in the Amazons.
They eat rodents, birds, small domestic animals and other small animals. Therefore, in most cases, they will leave you alone unless you bother them.
However, we know that wild trails are still in snake homeground. Therefore, there is always a chance that you could step on one.
Keep reading to see how to avoid snake bites when hiking:
1. Know the area that you are hiking
The first thing that you need is information. By this, we mean knowing the terrain so that you can know the types of boots to wear.
You should also know the types of bugs you are likely to encounter and most importantly, snakes! If there are non-venomous snakes, you still need to worry. This could indicate the presence of other snakes as well.
2. Wear Snake Boots
If the trails you will be hiking pass through snake country, you might need to wear snake boots such as Lacrosse Men’s Venom Waterproof Hunting Snake Boot that you can buy on Amazon.com.
As you can see from the image below, this is a high boot so your entire leg from the knee downward is protected.
Fit enough to protect a wrangler, the fangs of a serpent cannot penetrate these boots. You can wear them with confidence. Since snakes mostly attack the lower limbs, protecting your leg up to your calf is a good idea.
3. Watch your step
How many times did your mom tell you this until it became cliché? Well, it turns out it is true! Do not put your foot where you cannot see. This means you should have your eyes on the trail, especially if you are walking in areas shrouded with shrubs.
Snakes also strike hands. Therefore, you do not want to poke your hand in places that you cannot see, you know, bushy areas.
4. Poke pushes with a stick or hiking pole
Even if you are not going to be hiking steep trails that warrant the use of hiking poles, if there are snakes, carry one with you.
5. Keep out of a snake’s way
This is about what to do if you encounter a snake while hiking. Keep out of its way. This is very important.
If an animal is not bothering you, you should not bother it. Therefore, if you spot a rattler basking on a rock in the sun, do not move too close.
Keep your distance so that it does not read you as a threat. If you spot a snake that appears to be dead, keep away. Do not touch it. It could be sleeping.
6. Walk on clear paths
Always keep to the trail and rest in the designated areas, that is, unless you are hiking on the unbeaten trails. Avoid the bushes and tall grass. If you do not have to step into such areas, avoid them.
Snakes hide in grass, shrubs and bushes. That is how they avoid predators. Do not walk in such to stay safe.
7. Be cautious in areas where snakes are likely to stay
Before you sit on that dead log, bear in mind that a snake could be lurking there waiting for you. Snakes move to areas where they stay camouflaged so that they can wait for their prey.
Do not sit on a pile of rocks without caution. You could earn yourself a pair of fangs. You will notice that many snakes look like the areas where they live.
When collecting wood for a campfire, check the area carefully. Disturb the area around so that if there is a snake, it can scuttle out.
Being extra cautious is important for how to avoid rattlesnakes while hiking.
8. Keep your ears open
Though quiet, when a snake moves in the shrubs, it is likely to disturb them so that the leaves make noises.
Therefore, keep your ears open when hiking in snake country. This is not the time to wear headphones. It is time to keep your ears and eyes open.
9. Use snake repellant
If you are taking an overnight hike, you might need to carry snake repellent to use on the area where you will sleep in your sleeping bag.
Therefore, if you have been asking: how do you protect yourself from snakes while hiking? If you will sleep on the trail, you need to keep snakes away.
If you will pitch a tent, using a repellant is one of the best way to snake-proof your space. The last thing you want is to feel scaly, cold skin on your legs in the dead of night.
How to treat snake bites
Despite taking all precautions, you might encounter and angry snake. If it bites you or a member of your family, you need to know what to do if you encounter a snake while hiking.
Identifying a snake bite
Snakes are nasty and creepy. They will bit, inject venom and scuttle away. Therefore, it is possible to get bitten and not know that it was a snake.
If there is some swelling around the area, discoloration or two punctures, that is a snake bit alright. A person might also exhibit symptoms such as slurred speech, nausea and so on.
If possible, you should get the details of the snake so that a doctor will know what anti-venom to use.
Call for help
This is important. You should always have your smartphone for hiking. This also means you should know where you are. Help can reach you faster.
You can also meet help halfway. After administering first aid, you should embark on taking the victim to a health center.
Restrict blood flow to the heart
Tie a bandage tightly a few inches, say, about 4 inches from the area that has been bitten. The reason for this is to prevent the venom from flowing into the bloodstream.
After that, you should also make the victim lie down with the bitten part at a lower level than the chest.
Clean the area with water and soap
Here, we assume that you brought your first aid kit. If you do not have soap, just use plain water, it should help.
Do not suck the venom out
This is not part of what to do if bitten by a snake while hiking. If you have sores in the mouth, venom could get into your bloodstream through the sores.
That is it for how to prevent snake bites while hiking and how to treat snake bites in case the worst happens. If it can help, you should also know the best time to hike to avoid snakes. The good news is that your risk of being bitten by a snake is very low.
This article may contain affiliate links. Also, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.