How Can We Share a Snake’s Territory Without Getting Bitten?

This article is a follow-up to yesterday’s Would You Recognize a Venomous Snake?

This Mojave Rattlesnake is Ready & Watching!

As the earth warms up in spring, snakes come out of hibernation and reluctantly meet humans.

Given a choice, they would rather never see a human.  Perhaps it has something to do with our attitude.  Most folks admit that they’ve “…never met a snake they really liked.”

Sharing the Outdoors With Snakes

Folks who insist on camping, fishing, hiking and hunting are very likely to run into a slithery serpent.  Here are a few tips for preventing snake bites.

  • Are you in an area inhabited by snakes?
  • Are you wearing high leather boots and long pants while in “snake territory?”
  • Are you reaching into an area where you cannot see what you are touching?
  • Are you moving around in places where snakes usually hide?
  • Are you walking at night in an area known to have snakes?
  • Is someone in your group harassing a snake?
  • Are you stepping over something (log or rock), but can’t see what is on the other side?
  • Are you wading in shallow water?
  • Are you wading along banks in thick, wooded areas?

Caution On Land

If you are walking in an area that is known to have snakes, it is important to wear suitable clothing and leather boots.  Monday, I read an interesting blog, Denim May Guard Against Rattlesnake Bites.

The organizers of the study stated, “… denim clothing proved effective at reducing venom injection by both small and large rattlesnakes. Wearing long denim pants as an alternative to shorts may provide a simple, low-cost means of reducing the severity of snakebites.”

It is also advisable to carry a long stick, to test the waters before putting your hand or leg into an unfamiliar area.

Remember that snakes like to hide in logs or under leaves, waiting for supper.  These simple hiding spaces are successful;  a serpent can find enough mice and lizards (in this way) to stay fed.

Danger In & Around Water

Water Moccasins don’t seem to have a sense of humor.  They are always looking for a ‘bite’ so it is very important to stay aware when walking in and around water.

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For More Info About the 4 Venomous Types of North America: see Snake Dangers & River Tubing

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Snake photo – courtesy of Vantage Point Graphics

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This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Would You Recognize a Venomous Snake?

As the weather warms up, folks start to get nervous about coming up close-and-personal to snakes.

I won’t go so far as to say that ‘snakes are your friends’ but I will point out that snakes do a great job of controlling insects, rats and mice populations.

Snakes Just Want Peace-and-Quiet!

Few snakes are interested in confronting you.  Given the opportunity, most will slither into dark recesses, instead of going toe-to-fang with you.

The Bad Boys of the Snake Kingdom

This Diamond-backed Rattlesnake Usually Warns People Off by Rattling His Tail!

It took me years to understand that there are 4 main groups of venomous snakes … and the others may bite, but they have no venom.

Therefore, let’s talk about the ‘bad boys.’  Most people who are bitten by venomous snakes, get their bites courtesy of rattlesnakes.

Rattlers usually show their readiness to bite you by shaking their tails … however, this is not a guarantee!

Some just lunge and bite!  Frankly, this is going to make a mess of your day!  My suggestion is to move away quickly when you hear the distinctive rattling sound.

Three More to Go!

The coral snake can be identified through the rhyme:  “Red and yellow,

A "Red and Yellow" Snake Will Kill a Fellow!

kill a fellow; red and black, venom lack.”

If you are bitten, head to a medical facility immediately.  Stay calm and take deep breaths to relax yourself.

Rushing around will only cause the venom to spread faster!

These Guys Don't Play Around!

Water moccasins are in and around water, particularly in the shallows near low-hanging branches.

They don’t leave much to the imagination!  A Moccasin shows his fangs freely.

Finally, I want to mention the Copperhead. They are a real problem where I live (Texas).

Even Young Copperheads are Capable of A Dangerous Bite!

We live in open agricultural land and Copperheads seem to like to bask in the sun on cool days.

Generally, they are found in gardening mulch and compost piles and under decaying stumps.  Two more places to watch are: under large, flat stones and under decaying stumps.

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All snake photos are courtesy of Wikipedia!

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Next Time: How to Avoid Snakes; What To Do When You Are Bitten

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This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Snake Dangers & River Tubing

Is Every Snake Poisonous?

If you see every snake in the US as a potential killer, you’d best confine your tubing adventures to a swimming pool!

Snakes tend to hang out in warm waters; however, they tend to be mostly non-poisonous.*

Suggestions to limit your meeting these “fanged foe.”

  • Don’t bother or tease snakes,
  • Go around snakes, avoiding them where possible.
  • Stay out of shallow water as much as possible
  • Stay away from banks in thick, wooded areas

4 Poisonous Snakes in America

Cottonmouth Water Moccasin Snake — This is the only poisonous American water snake; usually found in southeast parts of the US.

According to Wikipedia, Cottonmouths are ” the world’s only semi-aquatic viper, usually found in or near water, particularly in slow-moving and shallow lakes and streams.”

 

Cottonmouth - olive, black, brown skin with fangs he's eager to show off!

Cottonmouth - olive, black, brown skin with fangs he's eager to show off!

 

Most snakes are as afraid of you as you are of them. Not so with the cottonmouth!  He usually stands his ground and even likes to show the white lining of his mouth — just so you know who should run first!

Being bitten by a cottonmouth is going to ruin your day, believe me.   You can avoid this meanie by staying in the middle of rivers and by avoiding banks with shallow water.

 

Diamond-backed with an Evil Eye!

Diamond-backed with an Evil Eye!

Rattlesnakes — These snakes are available from Canada to Mexico.  They provide more trips to the hospital and unplanned deaths than any other American snake!

Fortunately, they give an intruder advanced warning of their strike — with the rattling sound.

The Eastern Diamondback has more venom in a single bite than any other snake. Caution!

 

Copperheads have no sense of humor!

Copperheads have no sense of humor!

 

Copperheads – This snakes venom is potentially lethal. Need I say more?  Oddly enough, he is copper colored!

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Coral Snake – Absolutely lethal! Remember the rhyme, “Red and yellow kill a fellow …..”  Watch for the banded yellow, black and red snake.  Others, with similar bands (but not in this order) are non-lethal.

 

'Red and Yellow Kill a Fellow ...'

'Red and Yellow Kill a Fellow ...'

The good news is that this snake is not looking to cause trouble.

Finally

  • Become familiar with the 4 poisonous snakes,
  • Take a snake-bite kit
  • Use it — if needed and
  • Get the victim to a hospital ASAP.

* I used to think that non-poisonous snakes did not bite and poisonous snakes would. That is incorrect; any snake can — and will — bite, if provoked. The venom in non-poisonous snakes just won’t kill you!

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All snake photos are courtesy of Wikipedia!

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This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com