A hiking trail often contains signs saying, “beware of snakes.” For most people, such signs make them anxious as people are primarily born with a phobia of snakes. It must be because of how life-threatening their bite is.
Professional hikers and runners mostly put up with the fear of snakes, just like swimmers face the fear of sharks by just not simply thinking about them. But only ‘not thinking about them’ can not protect you from the venomous bite of a snake.
If you hike or run on a track that is inhabited by snakes, you must invest in purchasing snake boots and snake-proof gear. Further prevention is always better than care. Following are a few prevention tips to follow when preparing for a hike.
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Prepare for your hike.
Preparing for your hike doesn’t mean just checking the weather for today or ensuring that you have a sufficient water supply. It also includes the following.
Know your trail
Knowing the trail doesn’t mean knowing the way. It means studying the environment and animal habitat that you are planning to hike. Know what kind of snake inhabits the trail you are planning to hike. Just knowing the color and head shape of snakes is not enough to tell that they are venomous. It is ideal for taking a field guide with you if it’s your first time. It is a must to wear snake-proof gear doesn’t matter if the area has snakes or not. Prevention is always better than care.
Take a friend with you.
It is best if you plan to hike with a friend. As two pairs of eyes and other senses are more likely to detect camouflage snake, which is born with quick reflexes too. Further, taking a friend who is also a hiker can be really helpful as he may know the trail or have information about snakes that you may lack. And in case of emergency, your hiker buddy can also help you with first aid treatment that may prove to be life-saving.
Cover your ankles
Make sure to wear long cushy socks instead of ankle ones as they may protect you from snake bites. It may become sweaty if you are hiking in summer but being in sweat is a lot better than being in pain. If you have long rubber shoes or snake gaiters, they will be even excellent choice.
Tips to avoid snakes
There is no surety that you may not encounter the snake. But following these tips may reduce the chance of facing a snake.
Hike during cooler times
Snakes are cold-blooded animals that are more active during the hot times of the year. So make sure to hike at a cooler time. A hiker is most likely to face a snake during late spring through early fall. So it is best to hike during the winter season when snakes are in hibernation.
Follow the safety warning signs.
Warning signs on trails are for a reason, and you must try to follow them. Sometimes you get too tired, and shortcuts going through the mossy area may look more appealing. But remember that snakes are more likely to hide in tall, thick grasses or stone crevices around a beautiful waterfall that you may be dying to take a selfie with.
What to do if you encounter a snake
There are high chances that you may not be able to detect the snake because of its excellent camouflage. In a situation where you come face to face with the snake, don’t panic. Take a deep breath. If a snake is rattling, coiling, huffing, and writhing, these are signs that sake is warning you that you are too close.
Take a step back or try to run back on the trail that you previously used to come there. Remember, snakes don’t harm people unless they are provoked. Respect the territory of snakes, and they will leave you alone.
There are no ultimate tips to avoid being bitten or interacting with snakes. Above are just suggestions that will most probably decrease your chances of encountering a snake. Always keep the first aid box and helpline number with you while hiking in case of an emergency.