Protection from Snakes
|People who frequent wild areas, as well as those who camp, hike, or live in snake-inhabited areas, should be aware of potential dangers posed by venomous snakes. A bite from one of these, in which the snake may inject varying degrees of toxic venom, should always be considered a medical emergency.
Few basic first-aid techniques according to the American Red Cross are:
- Wash the bite with soap and water.
- Immobilize the bitten area and keep it lower than the heart.
- Get medical help.
- If a victim is unable to reach medical care within 30 minutes, a bandage, wrapped two to four inches above the bite, may help slow venom. The bandage should not cut off blood flow from a vein or artery. A good rule of thumb is to make the band loose enough that a finger can slip under it.
A suction device may be placed over the bite to help draw venom out of the wound without making cuts. Suction instruments often are included in commercial snakebite kits.
Some bites, such as those inflicted when snakes are accidentally stepped on or encountered in wilderness settings, are nearly impossible to prevent. Few precautions can lower the risk of being bitten:
- Leave snakes alone. Many people are bitten because they try to kill a snake or get a closer look at it.
- Stay out of tall grass unless you wear thick leather boots.
- Keep hands and feet out of areas you can’t see. Don’t pick up rocks or firewood unless you are out of a snake’s striking distance. (A snake can strike half its length)
- Be cautious and alert when climbing rocks.
- What do you do if you encounter a snake when hiking or picnicking? — Just walk around the snake, giving it a little berth–six feet is plenty. But leave it alone and don’t try to catch it.
|Safety Precautions With SnakesFollowing floods, snakes are often forced into places where they are not usually found. If you live in an area where snakes inhabit, take the following precautions:
- Learn how to identify poisonous snakes common to your area.
- Be alert for snakes in unusual places. They may be found in or around homes, barns, outbuildings, driftwood, leaves, dikes, dams, stalled automobiles, piles of debris, building materials, trash or any type of rubble or shelter.
- Before beginning any clean-up or rescue operations, search the premises thoroughly for snakes. They may be under or near any type of protective cover.
- In rescue or clean-up operations, wear heavy leather or rubber high-topped boots and heavy gloves. Wear trouser legs outside boots. Be extremely careful around debris. Use rakes, pry bars or other long-handed tools when removing debris. Never expose your hands, feet or other parts of your body in a place were a snake might be hiding.
- Do not allow children to play around debris.
- Nonpoisonous snakes can be captured by pinning the snake down with a longer stick or pole, preferably forked at one end, and then removed by scooping up with a snow shovel or flat-blade shovel.
- As a last resort, you may need to kill a poisonous snake. Club it with a long stick, rod or other tool. Never attempt to kill a poisonous snake with an instrument that brings you within the snake’s striking range.
- If you realize you are near a snake, avoid sudden movement. Sudden movement may cause the snake to strike. If you remain still the snake may leave. If the snake does not move away from you after a few minutes, slowly back away from it.
- Most snakes are not harmful or poisonous. Most snakes can be coaxed to leave the area, or will leave on their own.
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Dangerous Snakes in the World
Deadliest Snakes in the World