One of the best parts of camping is connecting with nature and enjoying the wildlife. Nothing beats waking up to the chirps of birds outside your tent or spotting a group of dear on a hike. However, there are some critters that everyone would rather avoid. Snakes are an essential part of any ecosystem they are in but no one wants to find one in their tent o come across one on a hike.
The most dangerous things about snakes are the things we do not know about them or even the things we think we know. Below are some common questions campers should ask and know about snakes. These facts can keep a memorable trip from turning into a nightmare.
1. Where is the Best place to set up camp to avoid snakes?
The best way to not deal with snakes is avoidance. There is no way to guarantee you will not run into snakes at some point over your camping trips but being mindful of what to look for and avoid when making camp will reduce your chances greatly. For example, choose a nice flat open area to set up camp. Snakes prefer places they can hide like in bushes or inside fallen trees. Picking an open area means there is a great chance there will be no snakes around.
Also, avoid being too close to the water. Snakes are great swimmers and tend to live and hunt near sources of water where prey is plentiful and where they can easily get away or hide. Many people are unaware of this and assume since they do not have limbs, the water is a safe place. This is a big and potentially dangerous mistake. If you find yourself running from a snake and you head into the water then you just gave them the advantage because they will most likely swim better than you.
Be careful when you put down packs and clothing for a while. Snakes are cold-blooded but will at times seek shelter from the midday sun f they are too hot and will use anything nearby for shelter. So keep this in mind when you stop to rest or leave things behind onshore while going for a swim.
Snakes are also great climbers and can easily make their way up trees. If you want to be overly cautious, avoid setting up camp too close to trees. The roots are a great place for a snake to make a den and if they are above you on the tree, you may fail to notice them until it is too late.
2. What smell do snakes hate?
The main sense that drives snakes is the sense of smell. They are most commonly known to flick their tongue in the air to pick up scents and this is how they mainly navigate their way to food or safety. Knowing what smells can deter them from your campsite is a great starting point if you are sure your site is already cleared.
There are many scents snakes don't like including smoke, cinnamon, cloves, onions, garlic, and lime. You can use oils or sprays containing these fragrances or grow plants featuring these scents.
3. What is the best snake repellent?
Clove & Cinnamon Oil: Clove and cinnamon oil are effective snake repellents. These should be mixed in a spray bottle and sprayed directly on snakes for maximum effect. Use caution as snakes will often run in the opposite direction of the spray. Spraying the snake should be a last resort when giving it space to run is not an option. For instance, if you find the snake has invaded your campsite or tent. It is always better to allow the snake to make its way and not interfere.
Ineffective repellants for snakes
4. Does Salt keep snakes away?
Salt does not repel snakes. They aren't slugs so they won't dissolve in contact with sodium chloride. Nor will snakes go out of their way to avoid it since they're not afraid of it. Simply put, the salt will not affect snakes.
5. Do Mothball repel snakes?
Mothballs are commonly thought to repel snakes, but they are not intended to be used this way and have little effect on snakes.
6. Does human urine repel snakes?
As stated, you can't intimidate or frighten snakes off with any scent, from human urine to pig poop to any other smell or device. Plus this would not be a pleasing method to use near your campsite. The smell would bother you more than the snakes for sure.
Snakes are not territorial in the same way as other animals. Urine does not mark off an area to them as much as it is used for mating purposes. The smell may make it easier for them to determine humans are nearby but it will not ward them off.
7. Snake bites: How to avoid/guard against them and what to look for if you are bitten.
Even if you have taken every precaution and done everything you can, there is still a small chance you may get bitten by a snake. They are wild animals and live off instinct. Please take the time to read our article on what to do if you are bitten. 7 Quick Responses To A Snake Bite. Knowing what to do can save your or someone else's life.
8. How do you protect yourself from snakes while hiking?
Stay on the trail and avoid grass, weeds, and brush. Use trek poles or walking sticks. They will be a bit ahead of you and to the sides so snakes may strike them instead of you. If you have not packed walking sticks or poles then a sturdy branch would work as well. Anything to put some more distance between you and the snake.
Use caution when picking anything off the ground wood, rocks, even your shoes or pack after it has sat for a while. Snakes are more active when it is warm so keep that in mind. Plan hikes for cooler temperatures and shadier parts of the day when they are less likely to be about hunting.
Also, keep an ear out for any sounds that indicate a snake is nearby. Hissing and rattling are warning signs for us to keep our distance. They want an altercation less than we do so keep vigilant on the trail.
9. What do you do if you encounter a snake?
Remain calm. That is the most important thing to do. Mistakes are made by those who act rashly and signs of stress will only antagonize the snake more. Avoid sudden movements and loud noises. The movements will be seen as signs of aggression.
Although snakes cannot hear they can sense the vibrations from loud sounds and that can trigger an attack as well, The best course of action is to remain still and back away slowly. Most snakes will retreat on their own at the sight of a human but if it feels cornered it will defend itself. The best thing to do is give it space to get away from you.
10. Will a snake bite you if you stand still?
Venomous snakes do not attack people - they only strike to defend themselves, and it's their second choice. Their first choice is to flee. If you stand still, you're no longer threatening them, and as soon as that registers, they will stop bluffing or threatening, turn, and flee.
Keep in mind that some snakes may freeze up in fear of humans and may not flee right away. Your second-best option is to back away slowly to assure the snake does not see you as a threat or predator.
11. Where do snakes sleep at night?
Snakes who sleep through the night will find shelter in a great many places. Snakes are cold-blooded and require warmer temperatures for their bodies to perform daily functions like eating or moving. Because the nighttime is much cooler, many snakes retreat to burrows when nightfall comes on.
If you are camping in the woods, be mindful that they will take shelter in any dark and covered place. This will range from fallen trees and logs to boulders and heavy stones. Be mindful when flipping or rolling anything to make a clearing or if you are sitting down on anything that you did not bring with you.
12. Will a snake bite you in your sleep?
In other countries where folks who live primarily in rural areas and sleep on mats on the ground there has been reports of people being bitten at night while sleeping. This is due to snakes looking for warmth at night and crawl up next to warm body to keep warm. The person usually bitten rolls over on the snake causing it to protect itself and bite them. But this is very rare.
Snakes, by nature, will avoid human interaction. Unless you purposefully set your campsite directly on a snake burrow or leave your tent open all day near an area with snakes around and did not check your tent before bed, you will not get bitten.
While there are some aggressive snakes in the Continental United States, all of them will still choose the path of least conflict if allowed. So do not worry about being bitten in your sleep.
13. How do you know if a snake has bitten you?
To identify a snake bite, consider the following general symptoms: two puncture wounds. swelling and redness around the wounds. pain at the bite site. These will be the same for both venomous and nonvenomous, which both need to be attended to by medical professionals.
For nonvenomous snakes, there could be rows of teeth marks as opposed to just two puncture wounds. Sometimes they could be hard to distinguish The most common feature will be a pair of bite marks and the area being inflamed and red. You may not always notice the bite if you are swimming or around water and high grass as snakes attack quickly and retreat. Be sure to be observant when in these areas.
14. Do snakes bite for no reason?
Snakes will only bite if they have a reason. They are wild animals and are ruled by instinct. As humans, we will not always understand the reason why they decide to attack and bite. They could be protecting their eggs, which may be in a den we cannot see or our hiking may have cost them their prey which we have inadvertently scared away by our presence.
Other times it may be as simple as they have already been angered by some other intrusion in their environment. The best option is to always back away but snakes, while following their logic for biting, may on a rare occasion bite us for an unknown reason.
15. How long before a snake bite kills you?
This answer can vary from bite to bite depending on the snake and the amount of venom the snake decided to inject with the bite. Snakes are instinctively conservative with their venom as it is not a limitless resource for them and takes time to produce more. They will not always expel venom with a bite if it not for hunting.
There is a medium to low chance the snake will attack with what is called a "dry bite" meaning there was no venom injected into the victim. The chance of this kind of bite varies from species to species.
The bitten area will immediately show signs of infection and will swell as well as change color. Symptoms will begin to onset as early as fifteen minutes after the initial bite. Symptoms like fever and nausea may come on sooner as the body reacts to the shock of the venom and tries to defend itself.
Typically, a bite will still take some time to kill you as long as you remain calm. Keeping the heart rate down and the bite zone below the heart will slow down the poison and buy time to get the bitten person to a medical facility with antivenom.
16. Can a snake bite you underwater?
Snakes can bite you underwater, but usually only if they're provoked or if they feel threatened. Most of the time the bites were on victims' lower limbs, which lead researchers to conclude that they were bitten after stepping on a snake in the water. Regardless of whether the snake is venomous, it can still bite.
Best items to wear for protection from snakes:
17. Can snakes bite through jeans?
Heavy denim jeans and canvas pants that fit looser are best. The material is tough to penetrate and the loose fit makes sure there is some space between your leg and the pants so there is a gap that increases the chance of the bite not reaching the skin. Leather is the best material to stop a snake bite but the denim in jeans does a good job of providing some protection.
18. What to wear to protect from snakes?
Wearing hiking boots and long pants offer an extra layer of protection from unexpected encounters with snakes. The less of your skin that is exposed, the better. Hiking boots are thick and sturdy so even if you don't see the snake and it ends up biting somewhere on your foot, the boot will still provide good coverage.
19. What should I wear to snake country?
Usually, snake bites occur on the lower half of the body such as the legs and ankles. Wearing loose pants made of tough material and making sure there is no gap between the shoes and pants so there is no exposed skin. If you are hiking off-trail through bush and overgrown foliage, also wear gloves as there could easily be a snake hidden in the brush or a low hanging branch. Bites to the hands are not as common but they can happen.
20. Are snakes afraid of humans?
Both venomous and nonvenomous snakes are extremely wary of humans and are not prone to strike. A bite is their last-ditch effort to avoid harm. Simply leaving a snake to do its job in the landscape is the best way to avoid a bad encounter.
21. Are snakes afraid of dogs?
Likely, most snakes won't choose to go near dogs. They're bigger, noisier, and more of a hassle than a good snack. Simply by having your dog around you will likely help to keep snakes away.
You can train your dog to recognize the scent of snakes and to alert you to the smell. This is especially helpful when you are looking for a place to set camp and looking for firewood, where you have a higher chance of coming across a snake using the wood as a hiding place.
22. Will dog poop keep snakes away?
Despite what you might have heard, dog poop does not keep snakes away and deter them from entering your yard, garden, home, or property. Snakes do not respect boundaries and will not consider dog poop as an indicator they are entering your dogs' territory.
23. Can dogs smell a snake?
No, most breeds cannot smell reptiles. Only the breeds with the most developed sense of smell—retrievers, Bloodhounds, Bassets, Beagles — can detect snakes merely by smell. Hiking in the evening or early in the morning helps you avoid their favorite part of the day.
24. Will Irish Spring keep snakes away?
Irish Springs will keep away mammal pests such as deer and mice. Since it will deter most of the small pests this will, in turn, keep snakes away since there will be no food source for them. It does not work directly on them the way it does with other animals. So Irish Spring works on snakes in a roundabout way.