7 ways to invite snakes to bite you

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Snakes are still relatively misunderstood animals despite how close we often live. After all, generally timid creatures would rather hide than torment their human neighbors. But every once in a while, we come across them when we least expect it, whether it’s in your garden, exploring nature, or even in your home. Fortunately, with the right preparation, you can avoid the worst kind of reptile collision. Read on to find out how you might invite snakes to bite you and what you should do differently.

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Hiking off-road or in rocky areas

There’s no better way to enjoy nature than to lace up your boots and go hiking with friends. Of course, most outdoor enthusiasts have their favorite trails they like to hike, which can range from flat and easy to hilly and complex. But if you’re the kind of hiker who wants to blaze your own trail, you may be putting yourself at higher risk of a snakebite.

“Snakes like to hide in tall grass, rocky areas, or anywhere there is plenty of room to hide,” explains Georgina Ushi Philips, DVM, consulting veterinarian and writer for The Reptile Room. “Even when trying to soak up the sun, snakes are more likely to be in an area far from the trail than in the middle of the trail. This means walking off the trail, tempting as it may be, is a great way to increase your risk of snakebite.”

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Choosing the wrong shoes

Sometimes it’s too hard to resist the temptation to wear as much light clothing as possible when you go out, especially in hot weather. And it’s not just t-shirts and shorts: many like to let their feet breathe with open shoes and sandals when they hit the beach or head out into nature. Unfortunately, this can be a huge mistake if you’re heading to a place where reptiles are a factor.

“One of the most common ways to invite snakes to bite them is to wear sandals in snake territory,” explains Jennifer Mecham, a snake expert and writer with Reptiles Blog. “It might not seem like a big deal, but it’s a very dumb thing to do. Sandals offer very little protection against a snake’s fangs, and even if you do manage to avoid getting bitten, you always risk being exposed to snake venom.”

READ NEXT: 9 ways to protect your garden from snakes, according to experts.

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Being careless with pet snakes

It’s not just wild snakes that can bite you: even pets can sometimes take an unexpected turn. That’s why experts say you should remember certain things if someone hands you a snake.

“Although it’s rare for a pet snake to bite, a hungry snake is definitely an exception. Never handle your snake when it’s hungry or at mealtimes,” Phillips warns.

And even the hint of food can become a problem. “Snakes are very instinctive, and if your hands smell like food, even the friendliest pet snake can be tricked into biting. That’s why it’s important to always keep your hands clean before handling one,” Phillips explains.

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Don’t watch your step

One of the most common accidental encounters people can have with snakes is usually not keeping an eye on where you are stepping. Let’s be honest, it can be difficult to distinguish a camouflaged animal hiding in leaves, rocks or tall grass.

“Most snakes are not aggressive by nature and much prefer to avoid confrontation,” says Mecham. “When you step on a snake, you put the animal in a defensive position. They will strike for protection, and you will be the one to pay the price.”

Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid stepping on an unsuspecting reptile. “First, be aware of your surroundings. If you’re in an area where snakes are known to live, be very careful to watch where you step,” Mecham says. “Second, wear long pants and boots when hiking or working in areas where they may be present. This will help protect your skin if you step on a snake.”

And if you ever find yourself in the unlucky position of stepping on a snake, Mecham says the best thing to do is stay calm. “Do not attempt to move away from the snake or kill it. These actions will only increase the likelihood of being bitten. Instead, slowly move away from the snake and allow it to retreat. Then consult a doctor right away,” suggests Mecham.

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Spending Time Outdoors During Snake Season

Those early days of warmer weather make the idea of ​​getting outdoors practically irresistible. But as cold-blooded animals, experts say snakes have a very similar tendency to become more active as the mercury rises.

“March through October are usually the most active snakes, but specifically, temperatures between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit attract snakes the most,” Phillips says. “Of course, these are also generally the best times to hike, but you still reduce the risk of snakebite by being very careful during these times.”

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too close

Whether you’re afraid of them or not, snakes are a fascinating part of nature and can be fascinating to watch. But while it may seem logical, getting close to a reptile you’ve stumbled upon could be riskier than you think.

“It can be exciting to see a snake, and some people will be tempted to move in for a closer look or even a photo. But not only is a snake likely to see your encroachment as a threat, it’s easy to underestimate. estimate how hard a snake can strike,” Phillips warns. “Although this may vary by species, most snakes can strike about half their body length. Even with this rule of thumb, it can be very difficult to see how long a snake actually lasts and accurately gauge the strike range, so it’s best to keep your distance. This is obviously something you want to keep in mind on the trail, but also in your home. Whether you’re doing yard work or exploring your attic, it’s important to remember that snakes are fast and have a striking range that’s probably much longer than you expect.”

It can be even worse if you try to become aggressive yourself. “When you try to kill a snake, it will feel threatened and more likely to bite you as it is its only defense mechanism. Their bites are their last resort, and they will only use them when in danger,” explains Mecham.

And you may not only be putting your physical safety at risk by attacking a reptile. “Attempting to kill a snake is also a legal liability because they are protected by law in many states regardless of the circumstances. So not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you are also breaking the law,” Mecham said. . said. “The best thing to do when you see a snake is to leave it alone. Leave it alone and it will eventually walk away.”

READ NEXT: The #1 way to keep snakes out of your toilet.

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Maintaining a messy garden

Even if you’re not an outdoor enthusiast, chances are you spend at least some time in nature in your own backyard. But just because you live there doesn’t mean you’re less likely to encounter a snake. And according to experts, there are several ways to make your odds even lower.

“When it comes to your property, snakes are attracted to two things: small prey they can eat and good places to hide,” Phillips explains. “By removing debris, clutter and other hiding places from your yard, you reduce the chances of attracting mice, rats and other potential snake prey and reduce the number of hiding places snakes will want to call home. “

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