6 Amazing Ways to Deal with Snakes while Hiking
When it comes to a backpacker and skills with snakes, these are two things that one must excel at if he/she is to be called a true adventurer! Not many people can claim to have seen snakes around, and once you see one in the wild, talk of backpacking is never complete without the mention of these reptiles.
Whether venomous or non-venomous, snakes are everywhere and they cannot always be avoided. The fear they induce in people has not been unfounded as they can be dangerous. Most snakes, venomous or otherwise, will prefer to avoid confrontation with humans and backpacking is no different. However, we must always be careful around them and this is where the knowledge of these reptiles comes in handy.
In this article, we bring you 6 ways of dealing with snakes, while out on a hiking adventure. Enjoy!
Hiking and Backpacker’s Experience
Firstly, this is a wide topic to cover, it is also very subjective. There are plenty of experiences that a hiker has had with a snake, being lost, seeing ghosts, or man, close shaves with death. These are some of the experiences that backpackers have had over time. Others might have not had any experience with them but would still love to share their fears and thoughts about these reptiles.
Hiking has indeed been an activity done by many people all over the world. But it is also true to say that one cannot be sure of any hike being completely free of snakes. It would not be surprising to have a snake cross your path during a hike.
Essential Things to Prepare for a Hiking Trip
Below are some of the things that are recommended for every hiker. These would help you avoid being bitten by a snake, or worse still, running away with your life!
A backpacker needs to have a well-equipped first aid kit at all times. This is because many incidents can occur during hiking. Small cuts and bruises can be taken care of with bandages and disinfectants. For snake bites, you need to have a proper antivenom that is effective enough to prevent any further issues. You never know when these incidents will occur so it’s better to be prepared than sorry!
Read more with First Aid Kit – A Popular Essential for All Backpackers
One of the things you should always have with you is a hiking pole. These are considered to be very useful when dealing with snakes. They can be used as a weapon or simply to make sure that your back is not exposed to any snake that may come out of nowhere. With long legs, it would be difficult for any snake bite to reach your blood.
Read more: How to Fix a Tent Pole?
Water and Camping Food
You need to have enough water and food with you at all times. There should be enough for a few days because you never know what the weather might be like or how long it will take before help arrives. Snakes can show up anywhere and everywhere, and there is always that fear of not having enough supplies to deal with any eventuality.
One of the most useful things that can be carried with you is a navigator or GPS. Having one of these devices will help you locate where you are, and there might just come a time when you need to call for some quick assistance. There are snakes all over the place, but they cannot be everywhere at once!
Most people wear shorts and short skirts when they go hiking, but this is the worst thing to wear if you want to be safe from a snake bite. You should always cover up your legs and make sure that there are no gaps in between your clothes where a snake can take shelter.
Encounter Snakes while Hiking
How to Distinguish Snakes from Other Reptiles?
It is important to know how to distinguish a snake from other reptiles. There are plenty of snakes that would be found in the wild and having some information about them will help you avoid any confrontations with them.
The first thing you need to do is take a closer look at their eyes. Snakes do not have eyelids like us, and this is why they have a clear membrane that covers their eyes. On the other hand, lizards have eyelids that can be seen from a distance.
Some snakes have really small eyes, and it is difficult to tell if they are open or closed at a glance. When you see a snake for the first time, hold your ground and stay calm. Do not run away because it will be easier to tell what you are dealing with if you take a closer look at the snake.
Areas Where There May be Snakes
Finding snakes during a hike is not something that will happen just anywhere. There are areas where they live, and there would be signs of their presence so you can avoid these places if possible.
- Caves are the number one place to look out for because this is where snakes like to hide. If you see an opening somewhere on your path, it will be best to avoid it because there is a chance that you might step on a snake.
- Stones and tall grasses would also be a good place to look out for snakes as they can easily camouflage themselves in these areas due to their coloration.
Learn About Snakes
It is advisable to learn about the snakes that are found near your area. If you have a good idea of what they look like, then it would be easier to avoid them. It is also important to know which habitats these snakes can be found in so you can make sure not to step on them during a hike.
Tips You Need to Follow
When you are hiking and encounter a snake, you need to know how to avoid being bitten by them. There are certain things that you can do to keep yourself safe and out of harm’s way:
- Avoid stepping on rocks and stones because there is a chance that snakes will be present in these areas. If the rocks are not loose, there is also a chance that the snake might be hiding underneath it
- Always wear good hiking shoes to avoid stepping on a snake by mistake. There are some snakes that might not attack you if they do not feel threatened, but there will always be an element of doubt when you see a snake at night
- DO NOT make sudden movements because this may startle the snake and it might attack you.
First Aid if Bitten by a Snake
If a snake bites you, you need to act fast and follow the first aid steps that are mentioned below:
- Reassure yourself that most snake bites are harmless because it will only release some saliva into your body. This is not enough to bring down an elephant, so there is no need to panic
- Keep calm and do not exert any pressure on the bitten area because this might cause more damage to your muscles
- Rinse the site of the bite with water and soap. If you have an EpiPen, then carry it with you when you go hiking.
6 Ways to Deal with Snakes while Hiking
Most people are afraid of snakes because they can be dangerous. The best way to deal with them is to avoid coming across them in the first place. It will also help if you know how to handle yourself when you encounter a snake on your trail.
Way 1: Do Not Touch
If you see a snake on your path, do not go near it. Most of the time, they will try to get away from you so there is a chance that they might slither away without harming you if you give them space.
If this happens, just take a detour around the snake and continue on your trail. Snakes are afraid of humans, and most of the time, they will let you be.
Way 2: Don’t Panic
Snakes might not be the most dangerous elements that you will find in a forest or other areas where they live. You will also encounter spiders, scorpions, and other insects that can inflict a lot more harm than snakes.
The important thing is to remain calm when you come across a snake because panicking would only make the situation worse for you. This will also give you the chance to assess the situation and act accordingly.
Way 3: Ask for Support From The Team
If you are going on a hiking trip, it is best to have a companion because you can ask for their help if a snake suddenly appears. You should also tell them not to panic so they will be able to help you better.
This way, the two of you will be able to come up with a good plan that would keep both of you out of harm’s way. If a snake suddenly appears, your friend can scare them away by making sudden movements so they will be able to run away from the scene as quickly as possible.
Way 4: Wear Safety Shoes and Long Pants for Protection
A lot of snakes live on the ground so you need to make sure that you are protected. If you want to hike despite the presence of snakes, then you should wear safety shoes and long pants just in case a snake crawls underneath your shoes.
Snakes cannot easily bite through long pants, so this would help keep them away from your skin. It would also be easier to spot them if they are hiding underneath loose rocks or stones so you can take an evasive measure right away before the snake decides to attack
Way 5: Light Up a Fire if Possible
If you are hiking in the forest, remember that there are other elements aside from snakes that can pose a threat to you. It would help if you light up a fire because it might keep away not only snakes but also other animals like wild boars.
Keep this in mind when you go out for your next hike because lighting up fire will help you determine what is in the area before you go near them. You can also use this if a snake suddenly appears because it will make them think twice about staying in your presence
Way 6: Try to Go Backward and Stay Away From it
If you suddenly come across a snake, the best thing to do is to go backward slowly if possible. If it follows you, then wait for it to move away before continuing with your hike. Most snakes will not harm you especially when they are retreating so there is no need to panic or exert any pressure on the bitten area.
FAQs Related to Backpacker and Skills with Snakes
What are The Best Ways to Catch a Snake?
The best way to catch one is to use a long stick with a forked end. This will allow you to easily handle it without too much risk of being bitten. You can also keep away from its mouth by placing your hand in between its head and body while grabbing it near the tail end if you want to keep it for later use.
How Can You Tell if a Snake is Poisonous or Not?
There are some general rules that you can follow to determine if the snake is poisonous or not. Make sure that it has a triangular-shaped head and bright colors of red, black, yellow, and white with broad stripes. Look at its eyes since most snakes will only focus on one direction with their pupils. The pupil will be vertically slit and do not look like a cat’s eye.
What is The Best Way to Defend Yourself From Snake Bites?
Keep in mind that most snakes are skittish and they would try to escape as soon as possible if you disturb them. They only bite when provoked or threatened so it would be best to keep your distance and avoid making any sudden movements. If you have long pants or boots, it would be easier for you to spot them so you will be able to evade being bitten.
Is it True That You Can Get Rid of Snakes in Your House or Yard?
It is possible to get rid of them especially if there are just a few small ones to deal with. Do not try to capture them because it might result in bites that can potentially harm you and your family. The best thing that you can do is follow the tips above to keep snakes away without causing any injuries.
Where Can You Find Snake Repellent?
There are numerous products available these days that you can use to prevent possible snake bites. They include essential oils, soaps, and sprays but make sure that you read the label before using them to avoid any accidents. It would also be best if you check with your local authorities on how they deal with the snakes in your area and if they have a licensed pest control company that can help you.
What is The Best Way to Treat a Snake Bite?
There is no specific treatment for snake bites and it depends on the severity of the bite. It would be best to get medical attention right away especially when it comes to venomous bites because it can lead to swelling, nausea, and pain. Also, make sure that you get the snake’s identification from the victim for better treatment after arriving at the emergency room.
Backpacker and skills with snakes is an area of understanding in our lives. People need to know to avoid bites and live a healthy lifestyle in the wild.
Making sure people are aware of this is your responsibility. Make sure that you read this article to get a better understanding of what it takes to be safe in the outdoors.