Snake Safety

What’s that slithering? In the summertime and when you’re out and about in the fall, you might tend to see a lot more snakes. Learn how to keep yourself safe from the dangerous snakes—and from being startled by the gentlest ones.

I remember taking a camping trip with my family when I was younger, when I spotted a snake lounging on a rock and basking in the sun. Not knowing any better, I leaned in for a closer look, not caring whether the snake in question could be dangerous to me. I have also heard stories of people swimming in lakes and coming face to face with potentially dangerous snakes. When you get into that situation, what is the best thing to do? If you don’t have the time to figure out it's a harmful snake, how should you react?

Here are some tips on keeping safe from dangerous snakes on land and in the water. Share them with your family—especially with children.

  • First, and it’s a lesson I eventually learned: if you’re close enough to see if a snake is poisonous, you’re too close! The markings of poisonous snakes are amazingly close to the markings of non-poisonous snakes. Once you’re in range to see, you might be in range for the snake to strike.
  • When walking in the summer and fall, avoid areas with tall grass. Snakes love to hang out there.
  • In the fall, avoid walking through large piles of leaves, since snakes like to hide out in this type of ground cover, too.
  • If you must walk through grassy or leaf-covered areas, especially when they’re close to a lake or river, use a large stick to prod the ground in front of you as you go.
  • In the woods or along a tree-lined shore, don’t forget to look up! Snakes hanging out in trees might not be poisonous, but they’re no fun to find falling from the sky.
  • Keep your fingers safe by never sticking your hand into a crevasse without first checking to see what is in there. Snakes like to hide out in those dark places, as well, and chances are they will be frightened if a hand appears in their space!
  • Should you come face to face with a snake in the water, do your best not to panic. Calmly swim backwards, facing the snake and put as much distance between you two as possible. Once you are a safe distance away, turn around and swim towards the boat, dock or shore.

The best piece of advice when it comes to being outdoors is to be as aware of your surroundings as possible, and to remain calm if in the presence of a snake. One thought to keep you calm: they are just as afraid of you as you are of them!

Did you ever meet up with a snake unexpectedly? How did you react? Tell us the story in the comment section!

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1 Response

  1. Jim Lawson says:

    I opened the cover of our Koi pond filter to find a snake lying in there with a frog in its mouth.

    I yelled to my wife and she removed the snake and saved the frog's life.

    Fortunately, there's one person in our family who is not petrified of snakes.

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