How to Prevent Snake Bites

Although most snakes will avoid contact with humans and prefer to escape rather than attack, you will want to know how to prevent snake bites when you are out in nature or even around your own property. Many snakes are not venomous, but being bitten by any animal can cause infection and is something you won't want to risk.


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    Learn which snakes may be native to the area you are visiting and familiarize yourself with their habits before you head out hiking or camping.
    • When learning about the snakes in the area where you live or are visiting, become familiar with which ones are venomous and which are not. Again, while you certainly want to avoid all snake bites, you'll want to understand the differences and urgency levels in treating both kinds of bites.
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    Avoid areas where there is tall grass and brush. Try to stay on trails or clear areas where you can see where you step. If you must go into tall grass or brush, use a long stick to probe the area before stepping into it.
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    Resist sticking a hand or foot into a crevasse or hole. Snakes often curl up in dark places like holes in fallen timber or in hidden spots among boulders. Avoid snake bites by looking carefully wherever you step or place your hand. This is especially true when rock climbing or exploring in caves.
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    Realize that snakes can climb trees. Be careful while walking under low hanging branches, or when climbing up a tree as you could easily mistake a snake for a branch.
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    Dress in protective clothing when you are out in the wilderness. Wear heavy boots and long pants.
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    Make camp in areas where snakes are less likely to be. Don't camp near large logs, rocky areas or tall grass. Snakes are usually nocturnal so you will want to be especially careful at night. Zip your tent up tightly and keep your boots or shoes inside with you. Sleep on a cot when possible. Use a flashlight to check inside shoes and the floor of the tent before you venture out at night to use the latrine or portable toilet.
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    Be cautious when swimming, wading or fishing in lakes or rivers, especially after heavy rains. Water snakes are venomous and you could be in dire need of help very quickly if bitten.
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    Ensure that your family and pets are protected from possible encounters with snakes around your home.
    • Keep your yard and adjacent property mowed. Trim hedges and clear brush to discourage snakes from taking up residence near your home.
    • Keep your children from playing in areas where snakes could be hiding. Discourage them from going to nearby vacant lots where there is high grass and brush.
    • Use an implement when gathering firewood from an outdoor stack or when working with brush or lumber.
    • Use extreme care in the summer during drought conditions. Snakes will seek water around your garden hose, swimming pool, or under your air conditioning unit.
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    Take precautions if you own a snake to avoid being bitten.
    • Most bites happen during feeding time. Use a snake hook to avoid having to grab your snake with your hands.
    • Choose a docile snake as a pet. Corn snakes and ball pythons have reputations as snakes that are reluctant to bite.
    • Don't handle your snake after having touched prey, such as mice, while the scent is still on your hands.
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    Use caution when approaching a snake you think might be dead. Recently killed snakes still can move reflexively and even bite. Also a snake may look dead, but simply be lying very still as it suns itself.

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Categories: Snakes