Venomous Snakes: 5 Things You Must Know Before You Head Out Into the Wilds

June 9, 2021

If you're anything like me then you are excited about the prospect of participating this Summer in the great outdoors on a military surplus tent adventure of some sort. Regardless of where you go however, you need to know exactly what you're dealing with in regard to serpentine creatures that you are most likely to come in contact with.

Depending on where you are, the risk factor for running into poisonous snakes can be rare; however, it is never zero. No matter where you go, there is always a venomous snake nearby, even if it is just at the local zoo.

It is therefore important that you have some basic knowledge regarding venomous snakes so that if you encounter one you'll know what to do.

1. You should never panic when bitten. I know this is likely to be easier said than done, but you should take a moment to consider the design of snake venom. It is engineered to travel the bloodways, eventually paralyzing and stopping the heart. The faster the blood is moving, the quicker this happens. It is also important to note that not every bite breaks the skin and not every bite injects venom. The best bet, if the skin is broken, is to assume the venom wasn't injected as you rush your ass as quickly as possible to the nearest hospital. Try to take a picture of the snake and call ahead if possible. Don't kill it for reasons stated above... you want to keep that heart rate down!

2. Watch for triangular shaped heads. Most, but not all, venomous snakes have triangular shaped heads. The most notable exceptions are that some Corn Snakes have triangle-ish heads, and coral snakes look like overstuffed colorful worms but they are full of poison.

3. Watch for vertical pupils. Strangely enough, snakes that are venomous almost always have slit pupils like a cat. .

4. Be careful around water. Water snakes are the most aggressive for some reason, (you'd likely be irritable too if you were always wet; ask a Navy Seal), and the one poisonous water snake is the water moccasin; however, there are many more water snakes that are not poisonous than are poisonous. However, I also know that a brown water snake, (though not poisonous per se), if it breaks the skin, can cause a terrible infection. I learned this from my old buddy the Wild Man, who got bit on the thigh by one, through a rip in his fatigues, while frog gigging one night.

5. Wear protective clothing and don't be grabbing things. A great investment is to buy snake resistant boots, snake-bite resistant pants, and have a walking stick with you. Use the stick to explore around areas where there are snakes about. Also be cognizant of the fact that some venomous snakes enjoy eating bird eggs. An acquaintance once told me of a time he was walking his church grounds in the Carolinas, when he watched a large tree branch fall to the ground, from high up, onto a small graveyard in the rear of the grounds. He meandered over there, intent on throwing the branch out of the graveyard, only to discover that it had slithered off into the surrounding woods on it's own.

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