Coming across multiple snakes from my recent trips to the desert, shows that I can no longer ignore the fact that being bitten by one can happen. No joke, my worst nightmare whenever I’m on a weekend trip to the desert or mountain, is being bitten by a snake. I think it’s due to the fact that when I’m out and about, I tend to get excited about other things in front of me rather than looking down on my feet. Snakes, on the other hand, are very good at camouflaging and hiding where you least expect to see them. Therefore, to ease my mind, I started looking into figuring out how to prevent from being bitten by a snake while enjoying my time exploring.
First, I am investing in snake boots. There are good ones here & here. I’ve shared about buying snake boots to some people and they laughed about the idea. Whatever! I’m not taking any chances. I’d rather look like a doofus in my snake boots laughing than be in an emergency room dying.
Two, be aware of my surroundings. As I’ve said it, I’m oblivious to my environment because I tend to get excited (as most people do when they’re traveling). However, I have learned to be more cautious (probably a little bit more now from my snake encounters). Also, I’ve read a few articles and it seems that snake bites happen, ultimately, when they (snakes) are threatened as a way to defend themselves. It basically means you’ve stepped too close to their zone and see you as a threat.
Three, don’t stick your hand in places it shouldn’t be in. Right, I’m not really sure why anyone would do this? Keep in mind that most snakes are usually found in boulders (rocks), deep cracks, bushes, shrubs and probably other areas that I have not mentioned here. The reason for this is that they like places where the temperature is cool. Therefore, they are most active in the evening and/or early morning. Read more here.
Four, bring a handy walking stick. The walking stick I used when we camped at TableTop Mountain saved my life! I was busy looking around to find my next step up on a boulder when, I accidentally dropped my walking stick on the ground. As I was ready to grab it, a snake had started moving into the rocks and I heard its hiss echo in the background. That experience scared the living hell out of me and from that moment on, I was determined to have my walking stick with me every step of the way. I’m way more careful about where I’m stepping to now than I’ve ever been and it usually starts with my stick first pounding on the ground before I do.
Five, when the unthinkable happens and hopefully, this doesn’t ever happen to anyone. If it does, here are some information that could help (although, finding help is your best bet to get the person wounded in the ER as quickly as possible).
a. The type of snakes matters: the bigger the snake the more venom they insert into your body when bitten. Here are types of venomous snakes. In California, typically the number 1 poisonous snake you’ll encounter are rattlesnakes. They have those blotches at the end of their tail that makes a “rattle” hence the name rattlesnake and they come in different colors and varies in sizes.
b. Once bitten, get away from the snake as far away as possible to prevent from being bitten again.
c. Bite symptoms: can be minimal to severe. The venom once it enters your body breaks down every part of your organ. It is best, for the wounded to keep the body (where the puncture is located) neutral and to stay calm as much as possible. Call for help as time matters. Read more here and here.
d. Call for help. You’ll need to get the person wounded in ER even if, you think that it wasn’t a poisonous snake.
Lastly, this is a contradictory statement, however, snakes aren’t there to harm you. They attack because that’s how they instinctively survive in their habitat. It is a way for them to protect themselves and this post was written for us to learn how to coexist with nature; and that we have to understand we are in their territory. Although, it shouldn’t prevent you from having a good time. Be cautious, wear snake boots and have a great 3-day weekend.