How to avoid snake bites while hiking?
Numerous hikers have been victimized by snake bites already. For instance, the California Poison Control system said rattlesnakes are among the top culprits of snake bits among outdoor goers, explorers, and hikers.
While you are in the wilderness, it is essential that you are careful about your surroundings. There's a need for you to familiarize the wildlife that is dwelling in your terrain. In this way, you will be able to assess whether or not there's a threat of snake bites.
Of course, this kind of tragedy can be fatal. Experts recommend that you treat every snake venomous. Hence, if you see one, better step away from their location. These snakes aren't aggressors. They only attack if they feel a threat in their territory.
Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take to prevent getting bitten by these stealthy reptiles. Check the guidelines below.
Table of Contents
How To Avoid Snake Bites While Hiking?
Cover Your Feet And Legs
Whenever you are hiking in snake-riddled areas, your feet and legs must be protected. These are the areas where snakes can easily bite.
If you cannot see where your feet are going in the ground, you should never leave them exposed. Otherwise, you are at risk of getting bitten not only by snakes but other creatures as well.
High-cut leather boots are the recommended footwear for these adventures. Leather is a durable material. Snake fangs can't just plunge in easily on them. Furthermore, you should also wear a pair of socks for an added layer of protection.
Of course, don't forget to tuck a pair of rugged pants. The pants should extend up to your feet so that your lower part will have no openings at all.
Only Tread On Trails
Most snakes lurk and rest in any area possible. Specifically, they like to dwell wherever that isn't disturbed by humans and other intruders. Such a habit enables them to avoid potential predators and extreme heat.
Moreover, they like to hide because that's an efficient means to hunt their prey.
Therefore, it is crucial that you don't steer on areas where it is bushy or filled with tall grasses. There's a good chance that there's a snake that is hiding in those areas.
Trails, on the other hand, are clear of any hiding spot. Snakes instinctively avoid these places. Of course, these are the paths that you should only follow. By staying on the track, your chances of getting bitten by lingering snakes are lowered.
I suggest that you avoid exploring uncharted areas. I'm not going to lie to you: that is a thrilling and tempting pursuit. However, if you take the possible hazards into account, you might reconsider this. You should only do this if the area you are going to explore is entirely clear.
Don't Approach A Snake
You are lucky if you spot a snake before you get near it. It lets you step away from its spot.
However, I've noticed that a significant number of people let their curiosity get the best of them. Surely enough, snakes are fascinating creatures. But that doesn't mean that you should approach them carelessly.
In fact, I prohibit you from coming close to a snake in the wild. As long as you steer your way from them, you will never get bitten.
Don't also treat dormant snakes as tame or approachable. That could be the biggest mistake that you'll ever commit. If a snake is hunting, it usually doesn't move around. Instead, it will affix itself in one place and wait for unsuspecting prey.
If a snake is not moving, then there's a good chance that it is on a hunt. Hence, it would be best not to come close to it at all. Snakes can pounce faster than the average human reaction time. If you are in their proximity, getting bitten is almost guaranteed.
Be Cautious Whenever Picking Stuff
Some of these snakes use logs, rocks, and debris as their residence or hiding spot. And they just don't give away their location. They remain still and silent. You'll never know if there's a snake sheltering under a rock until it is too late.
Always be cautious in picking up rocks, logs, and other materials in your trail or campsite. It would be best if you approached them carefully. As long as you are in the wild, being careless triggers unwanted circumstances.
Don't Hike Alone
Solo hiking is an exciting pursuit. But if your destination is a remote area filled with questionable wildlife, it is advisable that you bring a company with you.
Snakes feel threatened when you are moving in large groups. They will try their best to avoid an interaction, as these creatures are somewhat shy and elusive. The more you are, the least likely these snakes will go near you.
In tragic cases where a snake was able to bite you, having companions is heaven-sent. Someone would be able to call help right away. There's someone that would take a picture of a snake for proper identification. In turn, it would allow immediate and accurate treatment.
What To Do When A Snake Bit You?
- You should know how to assess a snake bite. Specifically, it is crucial that you are certain that a snake bit you. Otherwise, the proper treatment wouldn't be administered.
Suppose you see that a snake bit you, then you should proceed to the next step. However, if you didn't see what occurred, you should inspect your wounds. Typically, snake bites are characterized by a bite mark with two fangs.
The painful sensation in the area where there's a bite is a tell-tale sign that the culprit is a snake. If it is swelling, you should raise your alarms already.
After a couple of minutes, victims of snake bites will suffer from symptoms such as sweating, dizziness, and cognitive incoherence. Nausea and vomiting are also indicators that there's venom in your body.
- Get immediate help. Don't wait any longer. The quicker the rescue arrives, the higher your chances of survival. Some snakes have highly potent venoms. They can kill people in just a matter of minutes. Any delay can put your life in serious danger.
- Next, you should remain still and collected. As much as possible, you should limit your movements after receiving a snake bite. You are even discouraged from taking short walks.
It is advisable that you splint the area where the bite is located. Moreover, you have to make sure that the bitten body part should be lower than your chest. In this way, the flow of venom would be delayed.
It is also essential that you constrict the top and bottom parts of the bite area. The distance should be around two to three inches. But at the same time, the bandage shouldn't be too tight. Otherwise, it would cause discomfort.
- You should also clean your wounds. Have someone clean the bite area using water and alcohol. In this way, you can prevent infections from happening.
- Don't panic. At the same time, your companion should monitor any changes in the bite area.