One of the common concerns many bushwalkers and hikers have in the heat of Australian summer is the risk of a snake bite. In reality this risk is incredibly small.
Most people who get bitten by a snake have broken some simple rules. John, a great mate of ours, has shared the following tips from an article in a recent Great Walks magazine December/January 2011 edition:
1.Snakes don’t hear noise so if confronted by one you can alert others by sound without concern that it will increase aggression from the snake. However, don’t waive arms around or make sudden movements which the snake could interpret as being hostile.
2.Research indicates that 90% of snake bites are to the ankle area which is a good reason to wear gaiters. Some bites also occur to the hand so be very careful in picking things up in an area where you can’t see what is on the ground.
3. If you are too close to walk around a snake and there is no escape path, back away very slowly.
4. Snakes don’t lie in wait for people, and mostly try to escape contact.
5. A snake can strike from any position and may curl itself up slightly in preparation to strike to gain extra distance. If the snake’s head is raised this may indicate that it feels threatened.
6. Snakes are hard to identify so don’t try and catch the snake to ascertain whether they present a risk or not.
Remember in Australia you do not need to kill and identify the snake if someone has been bitten. Snakes are protected wildlife in many States.
There are detection kits available that can help identify the type of venom / snake or the available anti venom may cover snake bites for the common species.
7. Step onto rather than over logs – a snake may be basking on the other side.
8. Be alert at all times when in the bush, especially in the early morning during the warmer months when snakes are more likely to be sunning themselves but are slow to react i.e. slide away from you
9. Avoid walking through long grass or reeds.
If you want to read more snake information and check out some more great Tiger Snake images, just click here to view the article.
There is also a great article on treating snake bite (although a bit lean on first aid techniques) over at this University of Melbourne / Australian Venom Research site.
Do you ever see snakes when you are hiking?
What is your “worst” snake story?
Have you aver treated anyone for snake bite?
We would love you to share your story, just shoot us a couple of lines below.
Image: Ben Tubby – Flickr