Jun 21, 2018 at 5:51 pm #3543141
Well, this is a new concept to me, but apparently, there is actual science behind it. ARTICLEJun 21, 2018 at 6:15 pm #3543143MJ HBPL Member
I’d like to see an estimate of the Number Needed to Treat. That is, how many people would have to hike in jeans instead of reasonable clothing to expect to save one life. I don’t know how you’d get the numbers to do the math, but given that the number of people in the U.S. killed by a snake bite in a year is a single-digit number, I suspect it is greater than the number of people hiking.Jun 21, 2018 at 6:53 pm #3543148
I believe wearing knee high gaiters would be a much more comfortable mode of defense. Rattle snakes virtually never strike above the knees. I wore knee high Snake Guardz when I did metal detecting in the Southwest. Of course many bites come from people sticking their hands around rock ledges.
Few people die from rattle snake bites each year, but from what I understand it’s still a miserable experience. The skin rots away and the effects are felt for many years.
I had a REALLY close call with a rattler in Arizona. I was hiking fast along a trail on a sunny Spring morning, not looking where I was placing my feet. The night had been cool so a HUGE rattler was sunning himself on the trail in order to warm up his cold blooded body. Most of the desert floor was covered in brush so the trail was an open space for the snake to get sun he desired.
When I think back to how close of a call it was it still scares the hell out of me. I mean I came within 2 feet of stepping right on the monstrous snake. It was the hissing (more than the rattling) that alerted me to its presence. I had no idea rattlers could hiss so loud. If I’d have been wearing headphones I’d have gotten bitten for sure. I made a move I had no idea I could even make. I jumped back like a cat and landed on a cactus plant where about 50 needles stuck into me. The moral of the story: watch out on desert trails in the morning after cool/cold nights, especially in the Spring and Fall.Jun 21, 2018 at 7:56 pm #3543160
Wearing denim for a layer of protection makes sense to me. Blue jeans were probably the uniform of the day for a large number of backpackers 50 years ago.
I’ve hiked a lot in deserts (where I see fewer rattlesnakes than I see in foothills or in the mountains), and being bitten is a very remote possibility unless you’re a 18-25 year old male. A bit of common sense and awareness of where you are (of which I am guilty of often not paying attention to) should reduce the likelihood to almost nil.
The biggest thing is that many people have an unwarranted fear of snakes. Not a criticism, I have a fear of grizzly bears that goes beyond the actual risk.Jun 21, 2018 at 8:05 pm #3543161idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
From what I read, they simply used denim instead of other clothing materials, and compared it to having no clothing material. My takeaway is wear pants instead of shorts, denim or not.Jun 21, 2018 at 10:14 pm #3543183Mike In SocalBPL Member
I wear lightweight hiking pants and like to believe that the likelihood of a rattlesnake strike actually contacting my leg is lower because the pants cuffs are not tight against my skin.Jun 21, 2018 at 10:55 pm #3543188
From what I read, they simply used denim instead of other clothing materials, and compared it to having no clothing material. My takeaway is wear pants instead of shorts, denim or not.
I guess I read it too fast. That’s correct and the conclusion is to wear long denim pants instead of shorts. But still denim would probably protect better than nylon or polyester?Jun 21, 2018 at 11:04 pm #3543190John S.BPL Member
I see waterproof denim gaiters hitting the market soon.Jun 21, 2018 at 11:39 pm #3543195
I agree that, for most people, the chances of a rattlesnake bite are very low. That said, I have had “near misses” on the trails in Southern and Central Arizona more times than I care to think about…some rattled (or buzzed, which is a better description of the sound); some were silent.
I own Kevlar gaiters, and wear them sometimes, but they’re hot. Around here, you don’t actually need any extra hotness. I do, however, ALWAYS hike in long pants (not jeans — see note about extra hotness), and I hope that they would help [actually, I fervently hope that I never get bitten!!!!].
I know it’s a “hazard of the trade” around here, especially since I mostly hike in the foothills and mountains, but it still scares the bejeesus out of me EVERY time. We’ve had them in the courtyard, we’ve had them in the garage, and the one under the barbeque cost me 3 years of my life and 50 points of blood pressure…
Here’s the one that was under the barbeque when I was cooking steaks (I screamed, and my husband moved him out with a broom, then calmly took the photo):Jun 22, 2018 at 1:11 am #3543200
One day I was shoeing a horse in a Scottsdale barn and across the barn isle was the feed room. Outside the feed room door sat a portable 3 stair-step platform used by riders to mount horses. Well, the trainer pulled away the mounting step to give a kid a lesson and behind it was a Mohave rattlesnake. It was lurking there so it could prey on the mice that eat droppings from the feed containers. It couldn’t have been any more in plain sight. The trainer then went and got a long steel pipe with a noose on one end to capture the snake.
Mohave rattlers are smaller than Diamondbacks, but are far more dangerous. They have a strong neurotoxin instead of a hemotoxin like the Diamondback. The Mohave is also a lot more aggressive and will actually chase you. They’re much more rare than the Diamondbacks, which is a good thing because unlike the Diamondback, if bitten you have a good chance of dying without a prompt dose of anti venom. The Mohave looks a lot like the Diamondback, but it has a greenish hue.Jun 22, 2018 at 1:25 am #3543205idesterBPL Member
@doug-iLocale: The Cascades
In Washington, where I live, most of the snakes are in Seattle….Jun 22, 2018 at 1:31 am #3543206David ThomasBPL Member
@davidinkenaiLocale: North Woods. Far North.
100,000 cowboys and 10,000,000 wannabe cowboys can’t be wrong.
>”The biggest thing is that many people have an unwarranted fear of snakes. Not a criticism, I have a fear of grizzly bears that goes beyond the actual risk.”
I’m cool with snakes, having been the idiot on Scout Camp staff who admitted I knew how to use a snake stick so I got to go retrieve all of them and then release them far from camp. That was the second-worst job but I got to pick the person who had the worst job – the guy holding the pillow case open. I was also a 4-foot snake stick away, while he was inches away as I lowered it into the bag.
But, yeah, unfamiliarity breeds concept or at least fear. I was more on edge in Zimbabwe because of the hippos, cape buffalo and crocs than I am at home with the grizzlies.Jun 22, 2018 at 3:55 am #3543224Todd TBPL Member
@texasbbLocale: Pacific Northwest
In Washington, where I live, most of the snakes are in Seattle….
Heh, heh, can’t argue with that. But we do have our own brand of rattlers here on the east side (generally known as Western Rattlers). Unlike the south/southwest varieties, ours are laid back on tranqs most of the time.Jun 22, 2018 at 5:00 am #3543232Rex SandersBPL Member
@rexLocale: Central California Coast
My takeaways from the article:
- Wear warm, saline-filled rubber gloves on your ankles. Rattlers will strike there first :-)
- Lab experiments are nice. Real world applicability debatable.
— RexJun 22, 2018 at 4:45 pm #3543279Dale WambaughBPL Member
@dwambaughLocale: Pacific Northwest
The next test might be with typical Supplex nylon hiking pants. Gaiters make sense. Snake socks?Jun 22, 2018 at 4:52 pm #3543280
If I’m reading it right they also measured how much venom got “stuck” in the fabric in case of envemonation, also looking at the size of the rattlesnake. After finishing the desert portion of the PCT, and getting seriously buzzed right next to my knee from some thick litter as I knelt to get water just past Deep Creek, I looked up that species of rattler … plus general advice.
The general advice is long pants fitting loose towards the shoes, the latter preferably being some sort of boot – assuming light boot for the desert (of course I was wearing shorts and trail runner).
While rescues in the unlikely event of snakebite may or may not be free, it’s up to that agency whether the evacuee was negligent.Jun 22, 2018 at 4:57 pm #3543281
The next test might be with typical Supplex nylon hiking pants. Gaiters make sense. Snake socks
In hunting forums, I’ll often see people asking how to make a lighter snake gaiter and the answer is always don’t mess with a potential medical bill that high. For a product, scientific testing is paramount on the part of organizations (..” so you want to be an intern/graduate student assistant?” …). Think I’d go with the free advice from rescue departments that see some snakebite calls (i.e. long pants helps).Jun 22, 2018 at 6:07 pm #3543291
some rattled (or buzzed, which is a better description of the sound); some were silent.
I have this theory because I have walked close to and past a lot of “silent” rattlesnakes on well used trails.
Not so much today, but it was once a common practice for people to kill rattlesnakes that were on or close to a trail. So selective evolution allowed the silent snakes to become more prevalent.
Being close to a “rattling” snake can be quite unnerving even if you are used to seeing them and know bites are uncommon.Jun 22, 2018 at 6:22 pm #3543294
As (possibly) the only person in this thread who has actually hiked/bushwhacked in Kevlar snake gaiters, it’s not the weight that bothered me — it’s how hot and non-breathable they are! I wish there was a “cooler” alternative.
The other issue is Murphy’s Law: Every. Single. Time. I’ve worn my snake gaiters, I haven’t seen a snake; all my “near misses” have happened when I was wearing regular hiking clothes (or “city” clothes, when they’re in the garage or the patio or the yard). Does that qualify snake gaiters as a “snake repellent”? 😜Jun 22, 2018 at 6:38 pm #3543296
I’d say Murphy’s Law … like not wearing hiking gloves likely results in a face-plant.Jul 3, 2018 at 8:44 pm #3545062Brad WBPL Member
I don’t know many who have been bitten, but most were on or near the hands…. reaching in, under, or around something.
That being said, I had a very similar experience as Monte Masterson wrote about…. walking fast pace, nearly a jog, and came one step away from putting my foot down about 10-12 inches in front of a rather large water moccasin sunning on the trail…. & I did the same cat jump!Jul 3, 2018 at 10:22 pm #3545066Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Trinity Alps. Deer Creek trail. Almost stepped on a couple rattlesnakes sunning themselves on the trail. They rattled at me and slithered away.
A couple years later a couple miles upstream there was a black bear. It’s amazing how fast those things can run. It was uphill and out of sight faster than … I got some good pictures of it before it saw me, unlike the rattlesnakes.
I always wear supplex pants and medium weight nylon gaiters.Jul 5, 2018 at 1:58 am #3545239
Yea Brad, the Florida cottonmouth gets a lot bigger than the other 2 water moccasin sub-species. Some have been reported up to 8 feet long and have even been seen swallowing full grown cats. They’re semi-aquatic which of course means they’re comfortable on dry land too.
I spent many years in the Sunshine State and I did a lot of trail running, thousands of miles, mainly in the Panhandle and Central Florida. I’ve seen some monstrous Eastern diamondbacks out on the trails. I always kept a close lookout for snakes. I even saw a couple of Coral snakes (red on yellow, kill a fellow).Aug 10, 2018 at 6:03 am #3550785Adam WhiteBPL Member
@awhite4777Locale: On the switchbacks
Bah, propaganda from big denim.Aug 10, 2018 at 12:56 pm #3550802Dan YBPL Member
The other issue is Murphy’s Law: Every. Single. Time. I’ve worn my snake gaiters, I haven’t seen a snake;
Same with me, never have seen one after wearing them. I spend the winters in timber rattler country.
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