In North America each year, there are a recorded 7000-8000 venomous snake bites. Furthermore, you can find a venomous snake in almost every state, although some you are unlikely to come across them.
Thanks to treatment and awareness of what to do, there are very few deaths as a result of snake bites. However, in a survival situation and especially if you don’t have easy access to medical help, it becomes crucially important you learn how to prevent a snake bite occurring and what to do if you are bitten. After all the preparation and learning of how to deal with human conflict, to have it all ended by a snake bite is unnecessary.
How to Identify a Venomous Snake?
The first tactic in dealing with venomous snakes is learning how to identify each one. Fortunately, there are only four kinds you’ll need to worry about on the mainland of North America; the coral snake, rattlesnake, copperhead and cottonmouth.
Each one of these snakes has its own distinctive markings and characteristics which you should try to learn, so that you can easily identify a possible threat if needed. This infographic, produced by Sniff Outdoors, highlights some of the markings of each snake and their body type. After the infographic, we’ll be teaching you some tips on how to prevent and treat bites.
How to Prevent a Snake Bite?
As with anything, it is far easier to learn how to prevent an accident from happening, rather than dealing with the consequences due to poor preparation. Avoiding snake bites isn’t hard, but the problem is that many snake bite happen when you’re not aware the snake was there in the first place. Following these tips will help you:
- Know your location – learn which snakes frequent the habitat you’re in and decide if you’re likely to come across one. For example, snakes love to hide in long grass and under logs or rocks.
- Don’t turn over logs or rocks – this is the ideal hiding place and snakes will strike if they feel threatened. Poke with a stick if you’re unsure.
- Wear protective clothing – clothing, such as gaiters, can go a long way to taking the impact of a snake bite.
- Look up – snakes often hang out on branches so be careful with low hanging trees.
- Stay on the path – snakes tend to avoid paths to stay out of danger, meaning it’s much safer for you to stay on them.
- Be careful with dead snakes – they have a natural reflex to bite and deliver venom, even after death! Chop the head off first and hide it in a safe place.
How to Treat a Snake Bite?
Ok, so you’ve landed yourself in the unfortunate situation of being bitten by a venomous snake. It can happen to the most prepared people due to the fact snakes are very good at camouflage and hiding. These should be your next steps:
- Phone the emergency services – this should always be the first thing you do, if you can. You have a much higher chance of survival with quick treatment.
- Avoid a second bite – leave the snake alone and avoid a second bite. Sometimes snakes only deliver a dry warning bite at first and the second can be the one with venom,
- Stay calm – try to keep your heart rate low to prevent the venom from spreading quickly.
- Lower wound below heart – again, this will prevent the venom from circulating too quickly around your body.
- Wash with clean water – wash the wound with clean water to avoid infection.
- Do NOT suck – this is dangerous, especially if you have open cuts in your mouth.
- Putting pressure – it is highly debated whether or not to put pressure on your wound. Modern research suggests it is best not to, however it can sometimes be one of your only options if no help is on the way.
This article was written by Connor Mollison for Prepper’s Will. If you liked it you can visit his website at Sniff Outdoors.
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