View Full Version : Snake bite protection

Flash Hand
06-29-2004, 14:25
This year, I have heard some news of snake bites. I met one thru hiker that was bitten by rattlesnake during trail days. One Leg wrote in the journal, that he was bitten by rattlesnake but on the wrong side of leg, a bionic leg. He said he was fortunate that his son Tyler wasn't hiking that time, which would have been biten. And, a ranger, who died in the incident which was resulted from heart attack after the snake bite.

While hiking from GA to Mt. Rogers Recreation Area, I have encountered 5 snakes. I was surprised to learn that there are more snakes in Virginia than any other states. If I had been leading Scott Rogers, "One Leg" as I usually do in the first few weeks, and I wouldv'e been bited.

So, right now, as a deaf hiker resting for 2005 thru hike the Appalachian Trail, my primary goal is to find some protection to put around between hiking boots to the knee without the feel of weights or humidity problems. I would like to create this thread for brainstorming on how I can create a protection, that would aid other hikers in the future. If those snakebite protection was invented or is even on the store shelves, then we should recognize it as a safety priority on the trail. I have encountered more snakes than any other animals except birds so therefore, it is necessary for protection to be known to hikers and to gain awareness too.

For me as a deaf hiker, I realized that I would need more head lamp instead of one, so that I can see the sides of the trail while hiking forward at the same time in the dark. I said to myself, while hiking during the dark, realizing that to hear is your eyes in the dark. Yes, your hearing acts like eyes in the dark and it suites you really well but not for me or deaf hikers. I don't have eyes in the dark other than outside the lighted spot from my head lamp.

SO, any ideas for snake protection?

Flash Hand

Lone Wolf
06-29-2004, 15:03
Snakeproof gaiters @ www.midwesttongs.com click on CHAPS & GAITERS in the left column.

Jack Tarlin
06-29-2004, 15:41

You have a greater chance of encoutering a rattler in central Pennsylvania than anywhere else, especially just North of Duncannon. So this is an area to be cautious.

Like Wolf says, consider gaiters or long pants. Also, avoid evening or nighthiking (snakes prefer to come out when it's to be avoided in rattler country, as they usually (tho not always!) will give you a warning of their presence.

Incidentally, if you see a rattler, you might wanna think about camping elsewhere, as they're very territorial, and it'd be VERY rare for them to travel more than a mile or two from their birth dens, so if you ever see poisonous snakes on the Trail, you might want to camp elsewhere as they probably live nearby. Plus, they tend to be family-oriented....if you see one, he's probably got relatives nearby. Rattlers prefer rocky areas with lots of nooks and crannies; copperheads frequently are found near water, tho on occasion, they den together in the same place as their rattler cousins. Last tip---exercise caution when stepping over logs or branches, and if you sit down on a large rock or ledge, you might want to check underneath it for surprises.

Lastly, if you see them, don't disturb or hurt them. It's not only wrong, in many cases it's illegal. Best thing to do is back off, take some pictures, and leave. Teasing them, picking them up on a stick, tossing em off the Trail will only scare or hurt the snake,and leave him in an agressive nasty mood for the next hiker who comes along. Nearly all rattler bites are on the hand, usually from some idiot pretending he's the Crocodile Hunter or more likely, trying to impress his hiking partner or girlfriend. Attempting to pick up poisonous snakes is not a notably intelligent thing to do, even if you're convinced you know how.

As a rule, we have very little to fear from these creatures. Best thing to do is admire them, respect them, and move on down the Trail.

Pencil Pusher
06-29-2004, 17:21
I second that, try those snake-bite resistant gaiters. I think even Cabelas sells them, link: http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/pod/standard-pod-wrapped.jhtml?id=0009190&navAction=jump&navCount=1&indexId=&parentId=&parentType=&rid=&cmCat=search&_DARGS=%2Fcabelas%2Fen%2Fcommon%2Fcatalog%2Fpod-link.jhtml.4_A&_DAV=%2Fcabelas%2Fen%2Fcontent%2FPod%2F00%2F91%2F9 0%2Fp009190ii01.jpg

Whew! That's a long one! Well they have both the gaiter and the chaps versions.

06-29-2004, 22:19
The New England Journal of Medicine, estimate that between 7,000 and 8,000 people a year receive venomous bites in the United States, and about five of those people die.

I would bet a dollar to a doughnut that over half those venomous bites could have been prevented....Like Jack said, exercising caution when stepping over logs and branches while hiking, watch where your sittin.....and just good ole commend sense can go a long way.....

Jack Tarlin
06-29-2004, 22:45
Actually, in recent years, it's more like a dozen fatalities each year, but the majority of them fall into the following categories:

1. Zoo-keepers or other scientists who are fatally bitten in the course of their jobs, which are, admittedly, unusual. You make a living milking coral snakes or stuffing bushmasters into pillow cases, sooner or later you're gonna have a bad day.

2. Religious zealots who use serpents in their ceremonies and rituals, and who then refuse medical treatment after getting chomped. Or to put it another way, milking a coral snake ain't something I'd wanna do on a regular basis, but dancing the hoochy-cootchy with an Eastern Diamondback clamped in my mouth isn't my idea of a good time either. But at least these guys die happy.

3. Folks who keep "exotic" pets. Well yeah....if your idea of fun is a pet black mamba instead of a macaw or pygmy hedgehog....well, have a good time. Problem is, this ain't the Belgian Congo, so when they take you into the emergency room in Grand Forks, North Dakota or Enid, Oklahoma, not all of these places keep serum in stock for your cute little mamba or Gaboon Viper or whatever. See ya on the other side.

4. People who ignore snakebites, don't treat them, or treat them improperly.
For example, every year there's at least one guy whose brilliant idea of first aid is to tie a tourniquet, slash and suck his wrist, and drink a fifth of Old Crow and call the doctor in the morning. This is not generaly a good plan. Actually, neither is drinking Old Crow, but at least it generally doesn't kill you.

Anyway, when you take these morons out of the gene pool, you're left with VERY few people who succumb to venemous snakebite in this country in the classical sense, i.e. getting bitten in the backcountry and dying before they can get to medical assistance. Fact is, one has a greater chance of dying in one's bathtub, getting struck by lightning, or getting blown away by a postal worker while waiting to pick up a maildrop.

Avoiding snakebite is mostly a mater of common sense.

Worrying excessively about snakebite is silly. One has a greater chance of getting killed by one's family dog.

Just one more reason why I prefer cats!

Lone Wolf
06-29-2004, 22:51
There's been more murders on the trail in the last 25 years than snake bites, bear attacks and DIAGNOSED giardia cases combined! Arm thyself! It is your right and duty! Seriously, Flash is deaf. If the dude feels a need for protection, lets help him out.

06-30-2004, 08:25
Best protection: Don't step on snakes

06-30-2004, 08:45
2 Rattlesnakes & a Copperhead in PA

06-30-2004, 09:00
Well, as is usually the case, there is another side to the snake bite issue. I have done a little backpacking myself and like most people, when I first started I carried lots of things that I later decided I didn't need-- a Sawyer's Extraction Kit was one of them. I mean, I was hiking on trails and it ain't like snakes hunt you down, you have to go to them. So if you use reasonable care around logs, rocks, use a light at night, hiking poles (or a stick), etc, you should be alright. Then a few years ago I started hammock camping; so here I am trudging off trail through brush wearing trail running shoes looking for a stealth site. I am no longer on a cleared trail and I am in the brush where I might walk right up on a snake if one was present. So, have my chances of an unwanted snake encounter gone up since I am stealth camping in the brush? Well, I got out my old Sawyer's Extraction Kit, made sure it was in working order and put it in my backpack in a location that I could get to quickly.


Flash Hand
07-02-2004, 16:46
06-29-2004, 21:51
L. Wolf

There's been more murders on the trail in the last 25 years than snake bites, bear attacks and DIAGNOSED giardia cases combined! Arm thyself! It is your right and duty! Seriously, Flash is deaf. If the dude feels a need for protection, lets help him out.

L. Wolf,

I want to point this out.. Yes I am a deaf hiker, but asking for a snakebite protection is not reason why I am a deaf hiker. I have eyes that are required to observe and avoid those snakes. I asked for this thread is because I have phobia in snakes and even spiders. I met two victims, and one of them were a hiker companion. It scared me more when I nearly stepped in two assumed copperheads in a same day.

If I want to hike in the dark, then its a good reason to ask for some extra help with special headlamp equipment for a deaf hiker. I hiked in dark once and its scary because I can only see the trail, instead of anywhere around me. I cannot see anything and sometimes I feel like I'm another Bill Irwin. Thats the only thing I need help with creating things that I can see better in dark with no ways of relying on my hearing.

Flash Hand :D

Flash Hand
07-02-2004, 16:53
Thanks for the website links to snake proof gaiters.. I'm so relieved so that i can hike with no worries! Snakebite is only thing I worried about... I love the nature and the view of the mountains, its hard for me to focus on the trail for the snakes.

Flash Hand

07-03-2004, 09:35
Locals have told me there are no snakes in their state...true?

07-03-2004, 09:50
so here I am trudging off trail through brush wearing trail running shoes looking for a stealth site. I am no longer on a cleared trail and I am in the brush where I might walk right up on a snake if one was present.

I was doing the same thing last year while hiking off the AT in Virginia. Fortunately, I had no idea that there were so many snakes in Virginia. So, snakes did not concern me in the least.

However, after reading a few threads on this forum, I will probably have second thoughts before trudging off trail at night to get back to my campsite.