Do you live in a place near swamps or grasslands? Are you afraid that snakes may be lurking around your yard or even inside your home and could bite you? Finding a snake in your yard can be very frightening and it is hard to tell whether it’s a venomous snake or not.
It is only normal to be afraid and worried, especially if you have pets and kids who love to play outdoors. Although not all snakes are dangerous or deadly, they can still raise concern and panic. Luckily, there are ways to keep them away from your property and ensure your family’s safety. In this article, we will show you how to avoid snakes, treat snake bites, and everything you need to know about these fearsome and at the same time fascinating reptiles.
All About Snakes
Before going into a battle, always make sure that you know who your enemy is. The same is true on how to avoid snakes. If you want to win this battle with the snakes, you need to learn everything you can about them such as their habitat, food, their weaknesses, strengths, and habits. Once you have learned everything about them, you have a better chance of successfully avoiding them.
Snakes are Reptiles
Snakes are cold-blooded, just like other reptiles and this is the reason they love lounging in the sun. To manage their body temperature, they depend on the environment. Most snakes are covered in scales that are dry, but some species are alm ost scaleless. The scales help them reduce traction as they move and also to keep in moisture during the dry season.
Snakes Have Different Species
So, you think you know and have seen all the different species of snakes? We bet you haven’t, as there are over 3,000 species of them around the world. They can be found almost anywhere in the globe, but not in Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, New Zealand, and Ireland.
Not All Snakes are Venomous
Not all species of snakes are venomous or even deadly. There are some that are harmless like garter snakes. There are around 600 species that are venomous and around 200 species that can seriously injure a person or kill them. Most snakes kill by either squeezing their prey or by striking with venom. Most of these serpents devour their food whole and you’ll be surprised by how large the prey they can manage to swallow whole and fit in their body.
Snakes are Deaf
Believe it or not, snakes don’t have external ears which make them deaf. They rely mostly on smell (which is the snake’s strongest sense), sight, and vibrations.
How Snakes Hunt
They hunt by flicking their tongue out to taste the surroundings. Once they have tasted the particles around the air, it allows them to envision their surroundings to let them know if they are in danger or if food or prey is nearby. Aside from that, they also have pit holes in their front eyes to sense the heat from their prey.
Some snakes like phytons have lips that also allow them to sense heat coming off their warm-blooded prey and allow them to see their target. It works just like the way infrared cameras do. The lower jaws of snakes can pick up vibrations from scampering rodents and other animals.
Once a snake was able to capture its prey, they strike venom or squeeze them before swallowing them whole. Since its lower jaw is dislodged from its upper jaw, it can swallow large animals that are even larger than its head.
Snakes shed their skin at least once every month. They do this to remove any parasites from their body and for their growth. They usually get rid of their skin by rubbing it against an object such as a tree branch. They start from their head and down below and just leave their skin anywhere.
Birth of Snake
Not all snakes give live birth. There are some that lay eggs. Once they have given birth, most of them do not care much about their eggs, except for pythons as they brood on their eggs.
Snakes can live almost anywhere. Depending on the type of snake, some can live on land and others on the water. They are usually found in swamps, deserts, forests, and under rocks. Although they can be almost anywhere in the world, many snakes prefer to live in places where the climate is warm.
They Have Medicinal Benefits
Although considered vicious animals, these reptiles do have something good to offer. Some parts of snakes have medicinal benefits that can treat certain diseases. The venom from the Asian sand viper can help treat melanoma and other types of cancer. Although still under development, an enzyme from the venom of the copperhead can help cure breast cancer. Stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and blood clotting are some other diseases that may benefit from a snake’s venom.
How to Avoid Snakes from Getting Into Your Yard and Home
Whether you encounter a venomous snake or not, just the sight of a snake in front of you can be very frightening. The thing about a snake is that they can live and hide anywhere without warning. You won’t even know that there might be snakes living in your own yard or home already. But there are several ways to prevent them from taking residence within your property.
Don’t let your grass grow tall
Snakes will often travel on tall grass, so as much as possible, mow your lawn regularly. Do not let it grow too tall or you’ll have snakes crawling in them. It would also be harder to spot a snake in tall grass which will make it easier for them to get inside your house, too.
Don’t give them a site to hide
Clean your garden often and do not let fallen leaves, rocks, and other debris pile up. Avoid stacking up rocks as part of your landscaping design as snakes may hide in between them. If you have firewood storage, it’s best to keep them far from your house, as the small crevices are also a good hiding place for them.
Uncovered plastic bins can also be a good hiding spot for them, so make sure all plastic bins are tightly covered or place them far from your house. Remove heat sources and standing water near your property as they may come over for comfort.
Get rid of anything that they love to eat
If you have a rodent problem, do something about it immediately as they can attract snakes. You can eliminate rodents by removing their source of food. Do not overwater your lawn as well and avoid using too much mulch. Not only can they attract snakes but also other animals and insects that snakes love to eat. Avoid food trails that will lead to your house.
Seal any cracks at your house
If you have any cracks or broken windows at home, seal them right away to avoid snakes from entering your home. Shut off anything that will give them a chance to get inside your house. Avoid leaving windows and doors open, and it is recommended to install screens on doors and windows. You can also use a galvanized screening as a cover for your vents and drains.
Install a fence
Best to go for fences with a rigid mesh. It doesn’t have to be very high; two feet tall should do. You can also add an aluminum flashing below your fence to prevent snakes from sneaking through it.
Avoid putting up a birdhouse
If you live in a place that is susceptible to snakes, you may want to avoid setting up a birdhouse. This will not only attract snakes but is also a good hiding place for them. If you have one, it is ideal to remove them but always approach your birdhouse with caution as you will never know if a snake is hiding inside it.
How to Avoid Snakes While Hiking
If you love the outdoors and hiking, there is a big chance that you have encountered a rattlesnake in one of your hiking adventures. If you are afraid of snakes but you can’t resist a good hike, there are steps you can take to avoid or at least reduce the chances of encountering a snake while hiking.
Don’t hike on snake territory
Although snakes can be found almost anywhere, there are places where there can be a colony of them. So, when hiking, avoid trails within snake territory and avoid hiking during the night when they are most active.
Hike on the open trail
All hiking trails are different but if you want to avoid snakes, hike on open trails, and even on graveled roads or ground. In case you encounter one, you can easily spot one. If you could, avoid hiking near bushes or where there are loose rocks and always watch where you are going.
Hike on cooler seasons
Snakes tend to hibernate during the cold season. So, it’s best to schedule your hiking trips around this time. Summer is when you need to be more careful and vigilant of these reptiles as they are more active during this season.
Wear appropriate clothing and gear
Snakes can strike anytime and anywhere so wearing proper clothing while hiking will save your life from snake bites. Wear high hiking boots and gloves when hiking. If you are terrified of a snake, use snake chaps. It is also ideal to hike with a staff or pole, as you can divert or redirect the snake’s attention with it in case you encounter one.
What to Do If You Encounter A Rattlesnake During your Hike
The most common snake that you can encounter during a hike is rattlesnakes. In case you encounter a rattlesnake in one of your hikes, here’s what you need to do:
Stop any movement – that is the best thing to do to prevent a rattlesnake from attacking you. Freeze and evaluate the situation. Stay calm and watch the movement of the rattlesnake. Most of the time, they may not be aware that you are there if you stay still.
Find where the sound is coming from
If you cannot see the rattlesnake, stay still and be quiet and find the source of the sound. You do not want the rattlesnakes to feel threatened, so before making your move, listen closely where they might be coming from. It is important that you are aware of where they could possibly strike. This will protect you from snake bites.
Now that you have located where the rattlesnake is, move slowly away from it. Avoid making a sudden movement as this may threaten the rattlesnake and attack you. If you have a pole with you, put it between you and the rattlesnake. There is a bigger chance that the snake will go for the pole rather than your legs or arms.
What to Do After a Snake Bite
Even though you think you’ve tried everything and had covered yourself up with protective gear, you can never tell when a snake will strike. There is still a chance that you have gotten a snake bite.
Call an ambulance
If you or a family member is bitten by a snake, call an ambulance right away. Although not all snakes are venomous, all snake bites should be treated as an emergency. Use your mobile phone or have someone call for you. While waiting for help to arrive, stay still and don’t try to walk or move.
Though this may be hard to do, especially if you think that you have been bitten by a venomous snake, try not to panic. However, this is very important as it can help avoid spreading the poison quickly throughout your body.
You may have heard that snake poison goes through your bloodstream immediately but that is not true. It goes through the lymphatic system first, and if you stay calm and stay still, you have a better chance of preventing the spread of venom in your body. Ask the people with you to administer first aid.
Don’t try to capture or kill the snake
You may be tempted to catch the snake that bit you, but don’t bother at all. You don’t have to know what kind of snake had bitten you. Once you are in a hospital, they have ways to identify the type of snake and they would be able to provide the right treatment for it. If you try to catch the snake, you’ll most likely end up being bitten again, so it’s wiser to leave the snake alone. You can ask for help from your local pest control to get rid of the snake.
Apply bandage or splint
You wouldn’t want the venom to spread quickly through your lymphatic system, so apply pressure immobilization on the affected area. You can wrap the bitten area with plastic or cling wrap. This is to protect the venom so the hospital can test and identify what has bitten you.
Most bites will be on arms, legs, and limbs but if you were bitten on the neck or head, there’s no need to put a pressure immobilization bandage. In case you don’t have a bandage with you, a shirt or any fabric can be used as a temporary bandage.
Snake bites can be very alarming but knowing what to do can save your life. There are a lot of ways that are said to be effective to treat a snake bite. However, these old methods had been proven to cause more harm. Washing the snake bite with soap and water is not advisable as doing this will prevent medical professionals from identifying the kind of snake that bit you. Sucking and cutting the area where you have been bitten is also a big no as it can be very dangerous.
Frequently Asked Questions
What keeps snakes away from your home?
There are several ways to keep snakes from getting inside your home. You can use natural remedies to repel them and you should avoid anything that will attract them to your home.
What to do if a snake chases you?
If you encounter a snake, stay calm and don’t run. Back away slowly from it and move to a safe distance between you and the snake.
How can you avoid being bitten by a snake?
Avoid places where there is a snakes territory but if you must go, always wear appropriate clothing like loose pants and protective gear like gloves, and boots. Don’t lie down on grassy places or any area where there could be a snake. As much as possible, avoid hiking or staying outdoors during the night.
What attracts snakes to your house?
There are several things that attract a snake like food sources, moisture or damp areas, tall grass, dark places, and a yard full of debris. If you have a pile of rock outside, remove it.
Are you ready to keep your property snake-free? These reptiles can be very terrifying but knowing how to avoid them and what to do after a snake bite, whether venomous or not, can help save your life. Snakes may be scary but not all of them are deadly and they’ve been proven to be useful in the medical field. However, if you think that snakes had taken residence in your residence, call your local pest control to deal with them. They are professional in this field and will be able to get rid of your snake problem without harming you and your family. If you live in areas prone to snakes, you need to learn how to apply first aid for a snake bite.