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Snakes
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Luke H.
(Scraps111) - F
Snakes on 05/06/2012 14:31:17 MDT Print View

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?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 14:47:27 MDT Print View

http://www.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/expert.q.a/08/10/snakes.phobias.raison/index.html

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.

Edited by jshann on 05/06/2012 14:52:31 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 15:02:58 MDT Print View

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.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 15:20:03 MDT Print View

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.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: Snakes - drift.... on 05/06/2012 15:29:54 MDT Print View

Tarp/Tent - Zpack's Hexamid with a full net bottom. No snakes, scorpions, red ants, etc. Sleep in peace...

....end drift...

Edited by greg23 on 05/06/2012 15:30:31 MDT.

Daniel Cox
(COHiker) - F

Locale: San Isabel NF
Re: Re: Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 15:46:00 MDT Print View

"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.

Edited by COHiker on 05/06/2012 15:52:01 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 16:36:05 MDT Print View

> 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!

Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 17:03:17 MDT Print View

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.--

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 17:36:21 MDT Print View

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)

Edited by hknewman on 05/06/2012 17:41:32 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 17:49:08 MDT Print View

"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.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 17:51:24 MDT Print View

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.--

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Snakes on 05/06/2012 18:10:10 MDT Print View

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.
Franco

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 18:14:22 MDT Print View

"No I.D. eh ?"

They have no pockets for carrying the I.D.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 18:22:09 MDT Print View

"They have no pockets for carrying the I.D."

Rattlesnake to hiker: ID? We don't need no steenkeeng ID.

Ben F
(tekhna) - F
Re: Re: Re: Re: Snakes on 05/06/2012 18:49:33 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by tekhna on 05/06/2012 18:50:04 MDT.

Luke H.
(Scraps111) - F
re: snakes on 05/06/2012 19:29:52 MDT Print View

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.

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: snakes on 05/06/2012 19:36:39 MDT Print View

Have a zoo or reptile house nearby? Good way to face your fear.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: snakes on 05/06/2012 19:50:20 MDT Print View

Here is a good one to avoid. The Green Mamba. Very deadly.

Green Mamba

--B.G.--

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: snakes on 05/06/2012 19:56:44 MDT Print View

Not seen very often in the USA though.

Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Snakes on 05/06/2012 20:11:17 MDT Print View

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.

snake

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.