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How to Avoid a Snakebite

Here’s what you need to know to keep snakes at bay.


  • Step 1: Make noise Make noise while you're walking in the woods. Step heavily to make the ground vibrate and scare snakes away.
  • Step 2: Protect your legs Wear long pants and tall boots when you are hiking or camping. They will protect your feet and legs from snakes as well as insects.
  • Step 3: Stay on the trail Stay on the trail when hiking. Don’t wander off into the brush or tall grass where snakes may lie hidden.
  • TIP: If you can’t avoid tall grasses or brush, use a walking stick as a feeler for the ground in front of you.
  • Step 4: Keep your tent zipped Pitch your tent in a clearing away from potential nesting sites, including tall grass, logs, boulders, and brush. Keep your tent zipped tight at all times.
  • Step 5: Don’t reach into dark places Don’t reach into dark places where snakes might be sleeping or hiding, including rock crevices and hollow logs. Be careful when moving rocks or gathering firewood.
  • TIP: Remember that not all snakes stay on the ground. Some can slither up trees and hang from low branches.
  • Step 6: Don’t touch it Don’t touch a snake if you come across one – dead or alive. If it doesn’t slither away, go around it.
  • TIP: Some dead snakes still have a bite reflex, so don’t mess around.
  • Step 7: Don’t panic Don’t panic if you are bitten. Wash the wound and get to a doctor immediately if you suspect the snake might be poisonous.
  • FACT: The Gaboon Viper, an African snake, has fangs that grow up to 2 inches, longer than any other snake.

You Will Need

  • Boots
  • Pants
  • Tent with a working zipper
  • Caution
  • Walking stick (optional)

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