May 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm #1289615
Anyone else here have a fear of snakes? I am very afraid of them to the point where I start hyperventilating when I see one. This is obviously a problem when it comes to hiking and backpacking because I see them fairly often, especially in the Springtime it seems. For example last week up in Big Sur I saw four including two rattlers. The rattlers were right on the side of the trail in the tall grass where I couldn't see them until I was right on them and they started rattling. Rest of the trip I was in a state of semi constant fear while hiking. Does anyone have this problem? Anyone have any tips on how to get over this?May 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm #1874979
John S.BPL Member
You would not be alone in your fear. It would be some sort of behavioral therapy to de-sensitize a person from the fear I think.May 6, 2012 at 2:02 pm #1874983
Justin BakerBPL Member
@justin_bakerLocale: Santa Rosa, CA
If you see one on or right next to the trail, the best thing to do is get a long stick and push them off the trail. Just for the safety of others.May 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm #1874989
That's part of the reason these tarp setups freak me out–a friend of mine got bit in the face by a rattlesnake while sleeping once in the desert (although where I live it's mosquitos). Luckily no venom.May 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm #1874991
Greg MihalikBPL Member
Tarp/Tent – Zpack's Hexamid with a full net bottom. No snakes, scorpions, red ants, etc. Sleep in peace…
….end drift…May 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm #1874996
Daniel CoxBPL Member
@cohikerLocale: San Isabel NF
"That's part of the reason these tarp setups freak me out–a friend of mine got bit in the face by a rattlesnake while sleeping once in the desert (although where I live it's mosquitos). Luckily no venom."
The military is really big on the poncho pitched as a tarp, affectionately known as a 'hootch'.
After pitching hootches all over Ft Campbell, Ky and Ft. Benning, Ga, and cowboy camping all over the middle east, I got tired of swatting things that crawl off me in the dark and bought a UL tent with a floor and net walls.
Edit: the above doesn't really address the OP. After the time spent in training areas of Southeastern US Army bases, and even at Ft. Carson, Co I'm acutely aware of snakes during the day. I definitely watch my feet in grass. At night, not so much. You don't have anything they want other than the mouse chewing a hole in your pack for the M&M's. They'll leave you alone.May 6, 2012 at 3:36 pm #1875008
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> the best thing to do is get a long stick and push them off the trail.
Freaking h e l l! That is the best way to get bitten!
Just go around them and leave them alone. They don't want to mess with you, but will naturally try to defend themselves if attacked. So don't hassle them!
CheersMay 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm #1875015
In North America, we have learned that rattlesnake meat tastes like chicken.
What say the Aussies and their brown snakes?
I had one close call with a copperhead when I was a kid, so I developed a healthy respect for these serpents. In military training, we had one class on poisonous snakes, and it ended with snake hors d'oeuvres. We learned which snakes to jump over and which ones to step around.
As a backpacker, I know where to be on the lookout for them. When I see one, it is no big deal, so I shoot a photo. When I see the second one on the same day, I start to wonder. When I see the third one, I get concerned.
–B.G.–May 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm #1875028
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
When I was a kid taking a climbing class in some "snakey" desert mountains, the instructors said stomp your feet when approaching a snakey hideout (tall grass, etc..) to warn them. Of course that didn't help with the urban legend of climbing up a ledge just to have a rattler look you square in the face. Really most of my encounters have been on suburban jogging trails in American cities,when they are out sunning after a rain; 1 wilderness encounter with a basking Diamondback that wouldn't back off the trail. Though my mother-in-law got a baby rattler caught under a bedroom end table since she would leave her porch door open for pets. No big deal but then again, i wasn't there. Hope this helps.
(ed: substitution)May 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm #1875036
@glacierramblerLocale: NW Montana
"That's part of the reason these tarp setups freak me out–a friend of mine got bit in the face by a rattlesnake while sleeping once in the desert"
That is terrifying.May 6, 2012 at 4:51 pm #1875038
I was taking a mountain medicine class one time, and the military physician/instructor got to the part about rattlesnake bite treatment. He stated his understanding of victim statistics: that the typical victim was a 15-25 year old male, and the bite spot was on the hand or forearm. Also, he said that alcohol was involved in a high percentage of the cases. I think there is a message there.
How can you tell if a rattlesnake is old enough to drink alcohol?
–B.G.–May 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm #1875041
Franco DarioliBPL Member
How can you tell if a rattlesnake is old enough to drink alcohol?
No I.D. eh ?
Snakes are one of the reasons why I use trekking poles. I can walk pretty close to one without freacking out (and we have some good ones here in Aussie) but try not to pet them.
I don't bother them, they don't bother me.
But , yes I do use a fully enclosed shelter, for bugs not snakes.
FrancoMay 6, 2012 at 5:14 pm #1875043
"No I.D. eh ?"
They have no pockets for carrying the I.D.
–B.G.–May 6, 2012 at 5:22 pm #1875045
Tom KirchnerBPL Member
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"They have no pockets for carrying the I.D."
Rattlesnake to hiker: ID? We don't need no steenkeeng ID.May 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm #1875056
Yeah, all we could figure is the snake went for one of the mice we had seen around the site and missed. Totally bizarre. Her face swelled up really badly, but everything was fine in the end.May 6, 2012 at 6:29 pm #1875070
Thanks for the replies everyone. Just to clarify, although I am afraid of getting bit by a snake, I realize that doesn't happen in the vast majority of snake encounters and that they are afraid of me too. What scares me most is just seeing a snake or being in close proximity to one. When I'm hiking I know that most likely I won't get bit, but what terrifies me, thus taking some enjoyment out of hiking, is knowing that there may be a snake lying next to the trail up ahead. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the idea of a snake is more frightening to me than the chance of being bit by one. Hope that makes sense. Sounds like I need to find a way to overcome my fear.May 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm #1875071
Ken T.BPL Member
Have a zoo or reptile house nearby? Good way to face your fear.May 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm #1875078
Here is a good one to avoid. The Green Mamba. Very deadly.
–B.G.–May 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm #1875083
Greg MihalikBPL Member
Not seen very often in the USA though.May 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm #1875089
Luke SchmidtBPL Member
@cameronLocale: Idaho Falls
When I worked at a wilderness therapy camp we stayed in open sided tents and it was not uncommon for black rat snaks to come in looking for a place to stay warm or to chase mice.
We found this guy in my friend's boot.
My main worry with snakes is making sure I don't step on one. Never had a problem and I've been in some pretty snakey places.May 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm #1875103
"Not seen very often in the USA though."
It's not the ones that are seen that I worry about. It's the ones that I don't see.
–B.G.–May 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm #1875107
Kevin BabioneBPL Member
I'm with the OP…I can handle the snakes I know about, but the ones that surprise me are awful. I'm a big guy – 6 feet tall and pushing 275 pounds and when ANY snake surprises me on the trail I yell out and, from what my friends tell me, sound like a little girl.
I had one bad day on the West Rim Trail in Northern PA where I came across three snakes in the course of an hour. At that point I relinquished my lead and let someone else take over (and of course, there weren't any more snakes).
I have two suggestions:
– Let someone else lead
– Carry trekking poles (the click-click can often alert them that you're coming)
In any encounter with snakes I always feel like they come out the winner. That's a good thing in my mind – I move around them and let them keep their turf. I set up my hammock last spring and found, much to my dismay, a copperhead curled up about 15 feet away from my setup. He won – I found another "neighborhood."May 6, 2012 at 9:27 pm #1875130
a little fear can be a good thing, but as long as you watch where you step, you will be OK. You are not on any snakes food list( with the exception of a large constrictor)
The rattle is just the snakes way of saying "back off, you are too close to me, I want more space". And you should oblige.May 6, 2012 at 10:12 pm #1875140
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Snakes are cool and they are very important in the food chain. Please respect all snakes.
May 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm #1875143
Nice pic's Jay…… maybe you could give it to the kids like these people have.
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