Hiking is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body, and soul. It’s relaxing, yet at the same time, it energizes your mind and body. There are few other feelings like the ones you get during and after a tiring hike. However, like all great things in life, it doesn’t come without its risks. In this article, we will explore how to avoid snakes while hiking so you can have that peace of mind that comes with being prepared.
Aside from injury, hiking includes the risk of animal attacks. Depending on where you are hiking, anything from a wild bear to a small snake can come up and attack at any moment. While this is no reason to not go hiking, it is a great reason to come prepared.
Bears are a whole article on their own, and as it turns out, so are snakes. While snake attacks are not a super common occurrence, peace of mind is priceless; taking the time to hope for the best and prepare for the worst is a great attitude to have before hiking and doing anything else in life.
How to Avoid Snakes While Hiking
Stay on the Trails
It’s especially important to stay on the trails while hiking, as snakes usually hang out in the brush on either side of a path and are well-protected by camouflaging with the brush. Another benefit to this tip is it’s much easier to see a snake against the contrast of a well-used trail.
Use Hiking or Ski Poles While Hiking
By having an object ahead of you, if you do encounter a snake, it can serve as a distraction. Plus, if the animal gets aggressive, it will be more likely to strike the trekking poles instead of you.
Perhaps one of the best things you can do while hiking is to be aware of your surroundings. It’s important to make sure you are enjoying your hike but also, be on the alert for anything out of the ordinary. Listen to mysterious rustles and be aware of movement in the brush.
It’s tempting to pop in some audio phones for music while you’re hiking, but consider leaving these in the car. Snakes are usually heard before they’re seen, so this can be your first defense against avoiding snakes.
Avoid Picking Up Rocks
Snakes enjoy shaded places and will often hang out under the shelter of some sort. Avoid picking up objects such as rocks and leaves without thoroughly checking the area first. You should also exercise caution when picking up your hiking backpack after resting for a while.
Snakes have a habit of being quiet creatures. For this reason, avoid picking up any objects, whenever possible. This will help you avoid snakes while hiking where they’re common.
Don’t Put Your Hands Where You Can’t See
Holes and rock piles make perfect homes for snakes, so avoid reaching into these at all costs.
Hike When Snakes Are At Home
Snakes love sunbathing. They get their body heat from external sources, so a good amount of sun is vital to their health. This means the hotter parts of the day usually have more snakes.
As long as it’s not too hot (above 110 degrees Fahrenheit), you can count on snakes being around. Consequently, it’s best to hike when it’s a bit chilly.
Choose Popular Places
Snakes usually prefer to avoid people. So you have a better chance of avoiding snakes by choosing places where there are a lot of hikers using the trails.
Wear Long Pants and Protective Boots
The thicker the pants and boots, the better chance you have against getting a bite from a rattlesnake. While it’s unlikely you’ll get a bite, this is an extra layer of protection you can use while hiking in snake territory.
While it’s not without its risks, hiking is generally worth the cost it presents because of the immense amount of benefits the sport offers.
Still, the risks apply to everyone. Wildlife should be taken seriously and all hikers would benefit from adhering to standard safety practices in order to keep themselves in good health.
Snakes, especially, are no joke. While they may be small, many can pack a big punch that can send you to the hospital, or worse. That being said, they don’t want to hurt you. They just want to stay safe, just like you do. So respect the wildlife wherever you are and you will most likely be more than fine while hiking.
Get out there on the trails, it’s worth it! Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Either way, chances are you’ll be happy you went.
Let us go through some FAQs:
What do I do if I encounter a snake while hiking?
Don’t approach the snake. Stop and assess your surroundings and situation. Wait for the snake to leave before proceeding or take a detour and give the snake plenty of room when moving past.
What time of day are snakes the most active?
Snakes are most active during the hottest parts of the day.
What time of day are rattlesnakes most active?
Rattlesnakes are most active in the spring during most of the day, as the temperatures are the most comfortable for them. In the summer, temperatures are higher in the middle of the day. During this time, they will be more active in the early morning and later in the evenings. In the late autumn and winter months, rattlesnakes go into hibernation and aren’t usually active.
Can rattlesnakes bite through jeans?
Rattlesnakes can bite through jeans. However, according to studies, most of the venom is absorbed by the jeans. This significantly reduces the amount of venom injected into the body. If the victim is wearing jeans, smaller snakes have a much smaller chance of injecting any venom at all.
How high can a rattlesnake strike?
Rattlesnakes can strike around two-thirds of their total body length. This means a snake with a length of three feet can strike two feet high.
Does clapping keep snakes away?
Snakes “hear” using the vibrations they feel, so clapping to keep them away won’t do much good.
Which snakes kill the most humans?
The Saw-scaled viper kills the most humans of any snake. This type of snake is extremely fast and deadly. Victim fatality numbers are so high because of how widespread the population is.
Can rattlesnakes bite through boots?
Rattlesnakes cannot bite through leather boots and most pairs of hiking boots in general. The thicker and stronger the material, the better.
How can I keep snakes away?
Don’t approach the snake. Simply give it plenty of space and walk away as far as possible. Even if the snake looks dead, give it plenty of room and don’t touch it!