15 Rattlesnake Safety Tips for campers and hikers. While camping is a fun activity, it is not without danger from wildlife. Kids and small pets are especially vulnerable to rattlesnakes, but there are steps you can take to train both children and pets to avoid these snakes.
Be aware that if you are hiking and camping in the states known for rattlesnakes there is a high likelihood that you will encounter one at some point. Snakes try to avoid humans, so give them space. If you come upon one, move away from it and give it room to leave the area. Rattlers are more prevalent during the months of April to October, although in Arizona Rattlers don’t seem to hibernate like they do in other states.
If you want to teach your dog how to avoid rattlesnakes here are a couple resources. Both of these are comparably priced, but the California training only has a couple sessions per year, while the Arizona one is a lot more flexible. I’m going to take my dog to Viper Voidance.
While encountering a rattlesnake is almost inevitable in some Western states, there are steps you can take to stay safe. The following rattlesnake safety tips will help ensure your camping adventure is a safer one.
15 Rattlesnake Safety Tips for Hikers and Campers
- Rattlesnakes usually only strike when provoked or feel threatened. If you see a snake the 1st safety tip is to LEAVE IT ALONE!
- Always wear sturdy footwear when in areas known to have rattlesnakes. NEVER go barefoot or wear flip flops or other flimsy footwear. Rattlesnakes tend to strike hands, feet and ankles so wearing the likes of hiking boots that cover the ankle will reduce the penetration should you be bitten on the foot or ankle.
- Stick to the well-worn paths when hiking or exploring, and avoid areas of tall grass and undergrowth where rattlesnakes may be hiding during daylight hours.
- .Do not put your hands where you cannot see, like under something.
- Never hike alone. Should you be unfortunate enough to be bitten by a rattlesnake you will need the help of another adult to get you back to the campsite and to medical assistance.
- ALWAYS shake out sleeping bags before climbing into them, as rattlesnakes like to hide in dark places, including your bedding!
- When collecting firewood be particularly watchful to ensure the ‘stick’ you pick up is in fact a piece of timber and not a rattlesnake.
- Do not sit on logs without checking for rattlesnakes first.
- When climbing or walking over rocks and logs always step ON them not over them.
- If you have young children teach them about the dangers of getting too close to rattlesnakes. Kid’s natural curiosity can get them into trouble, so beware and keep them in sight.
- ALWAYS have a well-stocked First Aid kit with you wherever you go as well as one left at the camp site. At the minimum you should have two, and if splitting into smaller groups each group should have one with them.
- Carry a cell phone with a fully charged battery. Very important for emergencies.
- Ensure everyone in your camping party knows where you are headed, especially if you go off alone.
- If one of your camping party is bitten there are measures you can take to minimize the effect.First, it is imperative that everyone remain calm. While rattlesnake venom is poisonous, very few people die as a result of a bite that got medical attention quickly.
- Remove anything that might have to be cut off if swelling occurs. Rings, watches and the like should be removed even if the bite was not on the hand.
Although there are quite a few rattlesnake bites reported every year, very few result in fatality. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to the Doctor as quickly as possible! Staying calm and getting medical help as quickly as possible will greatly increase your chances of surviving a rattlesnake bite.