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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: snakes on 05/06/2012 20:51:03 MDT Print View

"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.


Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Snakes - "Eeek!" on 05/06/2012 20:55:09 MDT Print View

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."

snakes on 05/06/2012 22:27:11 MDT Print View

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.

Edited by livingontheroad on 05/06/2012 22:29:10 MDT.

Jay Wilkerson
(Creachen) - MLife

Locale: East Bay
Snakes on 05/06/2012 23:12:16 MDT Print View

Snakes are cool and they are very important in the food chain. Please respect all snakes.

Edited by Creachen on 05/06/2012 23:18:50 MDT.

Andrew Troicki

Locale: Sydney
Snakes on 05/06/2012 23:18:19 MDT Print View

Nice pic's Jay...... maybe you could give it to the kids like these people have.

Edited by Troiks on 05/06/2012 23:22:06 MDT.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker) - F

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: Re: Snakes on 05/07/2012 02:17:17 MDT Print View

A VERY long stick Roger. A few nudges and they should slither off.

Leslie Thurston
(lesler) - F

Locale: right here, right now
sneaky snakes on 05/07/2012 06:48:31 MDT Print View

you're definitely not alone in your fear!
the whole time i was on the AT i was secretly dying i'd never see one
however intriguing rattlers are to me, and snakes in general,
i didn't sleep a wink in shelters, and made certain my miles in PA
were logged before they came out to sun themselves.
(did see some black rat snakes but no rattlers)
here in the northeast, we simply don't "have" them...
meaning it's so rare and even so, they're typically small garter snakes
although if i'm caught by suprise, they do freak me out!
it truly distills to frequency of encounters...
if i saw them everyday, i'm certain i'd overcome this.
as for hyperventilating...
perhaps you could train yourself to remain calm with some breathing exercises
or burn a mantra into your head to prepare accordingly...
for example..."snakes are harmless" or "have no fear"
something of this nature?
what excatly about them freaks you out?
it's more the slithering action that i dislike.
eeeeks, gives me the willies just thinkin' 'bout it!

Kevin Babione
(KBabione) - MLife

Locale: Pennsylvania
Surprise - Snake! on 05/07/2012 07:25:40 MDT Print View

I think my issue with snakes is the "surprise" factor. You're hiking along and you go to take your next step and there, right where you're about to put your foot, is a snake.

They're the only critters, perhaps other than small frogs and salamanders, that you can step on before they get out of your way. I almost kicked a porcupine last year on the Mid State Trail in PA (I walked right past him and it was the guy behind me who saw him), but generally everything else is pretty quick to scamper off the trail.

I respect snakes and really appreciate it when they let me know that they're there. I was hiking up a rocky slab last summer and heard the distinct buzz buzz of a rattler about 10 feet in front of me. I thanked him (literally) and gave his location a wide berth while he moved from the rock he was using as a lounge chair and disappeared. I was fine in this instance - no shriek was necessary - because he let me know he was there before I even saw him.

The other thing, and this will probably sound stupid, is that I was less worried about getting bitten by a snake when I wore more traditional hiking boots (as if they wouldn't strike above the boot). With my trail runners not only is more of my ankle "exposed" but I'm pretty sure a bite would go right through the mesh.

Erik Basil

Locale: Atzlan
Fear of Presence v. Bite on 05/07/2012 09:24:52 MDT Print View

I don't have it: fear of their presence or existence, but I sure understand it. I have friends that are petrified of snakes in any location, ie stores, a handler's hands, the zoo.. and who modify their outdoor behavior to avoid where they think snakes are. I have one who wouldn't even drive to a mountain resort "because there are snakes there".

Well, yes, but they're not roaming the streets eating people. At least, not that often.

I suggest, if you want to be outdoors, learn up, expose yourself to them and adopt some behaviors such as walking stick/trekking poles and enclosed tents so that you can walk and sleep in some greater peace.

In SoCal, there are plenty of rattlers, depending on season and weather, and those are the one to be bothered by. We've got plenty of non-poisonous snakes that are cool to see and won't savagely drop down onto your neck from overhanging sagebrush like the dreaded Western Furry Rattlesnake I like to tell my Scouts about, and there are plenty of rattlers you may see on trail. If they're on trail and gentle, distant suggestions will usually result in them leaving. However, if you or others need to pass by and the snake doesn't move on or coils and strikes at you, then a *long* stick or tossed pebbles can often move the critter. However, tossed pebbles, tossed trail sand or even the stick can make Senor Snake mighty angry, so be smart and then take the time to get him "really" off-trail, not just into the weeds...

On a trail called Sycamore Cyn, near Malibu, we crossed 14 rattlesnake snakes in trail one morning, over 3.5 miles.

I used to drive up and down a steep access road north of Los Angeles (Browns Cyn) and would see, literally, dozens of rattlers on the asphalt every day. They'd be aggressive and would occasionally strike at the car or truck -- you'd hear the thunk as they hit the rocker panel. Once, one got stuck in the sidewall of my bias-ply tire for a revolution! I have to admit, we went out of our way to run the bastards over most of the time, as we also had to hike that road. Hat bands and appetizers.

Let the bunnies live. They're cute.

Richard Lyon
(richardglyon) - MLife

Locale: Bridger Mountains
Snakes on 05/07/2012 09:42:14 MDT Print View

Most snakes will leave you alone if not cornered or provoked. Some folks have reported aggressive water moccasins but that is not my experience, and I've seen plenty. A prod with a stick or trekking pole is definitely provocation. That said, keeping crawling things, and snakes particularly, away from me at night is one reason I always use a floored tent even in the Southwest in the summer.

A doctor friend told me that a majority of venomous snakebites in the US are on the hand, which suggests to me that stupidity, bravado, or alcohol is often involved. Ordinary precautions - care in snaky locations, walking around them, allowing them to move away, snakeproof boots when necessary - and there's little reason to worry. A little fear is a good thing.

Ryan Smith
(ViolentGreen) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Snakes on 05/07/2012 11:02:14 MDT Print View

Good ol' snake chaps? Just don't pick a snake up and these would go a long way.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Snakes on 05/07/2012 11:59:10 MDT Print View

My first hiking partner was deathly afraid of snakes. He wanted to go hiking with me, but that fear kept him from doing so for a long time. Not sure how he finally overcame it enough to come with me, but we hiked together for several years.

We have numerous snakes in the neighborhood, including these guys:

Copperhead in the garden.

Corn snake in the house.

The second one is an amelanistic (no black pigment) corn snake that was my daughter's only wish for her 12th birthday.

To the OP, I think asking around for some help in overcoming your phobia would be a good idea. If it really interferes with an important part of your life (hiking), that would be warranted. Good luck.

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Snakes & Veggies on 05/07/2012 12:07:28 MDT Print View

@ Ken: I love the cucumber copperhead!

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Snakes on 05/07/2012 16:21:38 MDT Print View

This is one of several snakes I spotted on a coastal walk recently.
tiger snake
It is a tiger snake and it can kill you with one bite, however as expected when I moved closer he just slithered away.
He lives not far from that water tank .
One of my mates does not like them so I told him about it the next day..
(our tents were at least 20 yards from it )
I was having a full body wash when it came to have a drink but I had my camera (short zoom..) because there were warnings in the group shelter about snakes.
Actualy I did tell the other two guys because they also used that tank...

Edited by Franco on 05/07/2012 16:32:36 MDT.

Andrew Baxter
(adb0406) - F
Hammock on 05/09/2012 15:40:49 MDT Print View

This is the #1 reason I switched to Hammock Camping. My hammock weights 18oz. It gets you off the ground from snakes that want the body heat, mice, bugs and wet ground if it rains. Small tarp over it if needed to block the rain. The only bad thing is in bear country you could be a human pinata.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Phobia treatment on 05/09/2012 17:18:19 MDT Print View

I did this on my own for mild claustrophobia when I started caving and got over it. I talked to a very good psychologist about my son's more severe phobia of fire drills.

Here's the routine: Stay calm. Don't take it far enough or fast enough to get anxious. If you do, back off.

Find some level of exposure (across the room?, in a cage?, 50 yards away in the zoo or pet store?) that is NOT fearful for you. Hang out there, do whatever is calming for you (yoga, conscious breathing, read a book, get a massage, whatever works for you).

You will be desensitizing yourself.

Wash, rinse, repeat at that level of exposure. Get closer only if you're calm about it. Go for repetitions, lots of duration and repetitions. Slowly increase your exposure while shifting into that calm mode you've practiced.

With time, you can beat down most phobias as much as you want. Often, once to a tolerable level, people stop practicing, but even then the beneficial effects can be long-term.

Edited by DavidinKenai on 05/09/2012 17:20:16 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Snakes on 05/09/2012 18:30:19 MDT Print View

Of the world's ten most venomous snakes, guess how many live in Australia?
All ten.
Doesn't seem to worry our walkers though. We just let them be. No, we do NOT pick any of them up.

Mainland Tiger Snake, Notechis scutatus, 3382
Mainland Tiger Snake, Notechis scutatus, Vize Spur, April 2012

Very pretty fellow I think. Yes, potentially fatal. We walked around him and he ignored us. But I did get some good photos!

Actually, it may have been 'her' as Sue thinks she saw a baby one nearby. Also pretty.


Edited by rcaffin on 05/09/2012 18:31:58 MDT.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
Snakes on 05/09/2012 18:52:59 MDT Print View

I can never tell if the snakes I am looking at are male or females but also don't ask.
Don't ask, don't tell..
Brown snakes

A funny one was a river walk I used to do.
That involved walking in the river off and on because of the overgrown sides and or steep sides.
(Lerderdurg Gorge)
Anyway at some point I was made aware that there were snakes (brown snakes) in the water, never knew that they could or would swim.
And fair enough on a nice hot day (about 100f) there they were in the ,shallow, water with me...
(the one in the pic is probably a male. They curl up like that when courting, the female just lays there waiting for something to happen. Or at least that is the way they seem to behave to me.... Very common snake )

Luke H.
(Scraps111) - F
re: snakes on 05/09/2012 20:06:12 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the helpful feedback! Lots of great tips on getting over my fear and it helps to know there are others out there that have this same problem when hiking. I have to admit all the snake picture scare the hell out of me, but I'm forcing myself to look at them. Gotta start somewhere right?

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Re: re: snakes on 05/10/2012 02:19:35 MDT Print View

absolutely, look at the pics, look at the snakes calmly and try to think of them as beautiful, pacific animals that will make you no harm if they have the choice. It's the way to re-program your mind.