As long as there’s wood and grass around, a snake is always likely to be nearby. By some stroke of good luck, this snake might decide to take a stroll within your campsite.
A snake that made its way to your campsite is often hard to detect. It might have coiled on spots that you never expect it to be.
Death and snakebite are almost the same. You can still call for help. However, it’s only a matter of minutes before the venom paralyzes you and impairs breathing, movement, and heart rate.
If you are going to camp in a location where a snake’s presence is most likely, read this article first. Learn how to keep snakes away from your campsite.
How To Protect Yourself From Snakes When Camping
What Attracts Snakes To Your Tent
Your tent produces a lot of shade, and this is what entices the snakes to come. If not searching for food or a mate, snakes roam around to look for a place that keeps them away from sunlight. Snakes when camping are dangerous.
But why look for a shade? Snakes are cold-blooded animals. They can’t keep their own body temperatures. Exposure to sunlight kills them.
You shouldn’t rule out the possibility that the campsite is the snakes’ territory. That’s why before setting up camp, check the site for signs of a snakes’ presence, such as holes on the ground, sheds of skin, eggs, and snake sounds (hiss, rattle, whistle, etc.)
Snakes rarely go to your tent to search for food. However, this is another situation that you shouldn’t be careless about. A camping food that snakes might hunt for is eggs. They might also get attracted to freshly caught fish, freshly hunted small mammals, and birds.
The probability of snakes going to the tent isn’t slim. It’s safe to say that at least 3 out of 10 campers experience it. So, you need to employ vigilance all the time when staying in snake-prone camping locations.
How To Keep Snakes Away When Sleeping On The Ground?
If you’re sleeping on the ground, the best method to keep snakes away is to make a campfire. Of course, you shouldn’t make just any normal campfire out there. Be sure to make one that burns brightly and produces a lot of heat.
Fireworks because it gives off two things that snakes hate – smoke and heat. Snakes don’t like smoke due to its smell. It also stings their eyes. Heat wards off snakes because it raises their body temperature, which is potentially dangerous for these cold-blooded animals.
Another effective method is spreading gas all around the campsite. For humans, gasoline and diesel have a sweet smell. However, it’s the opposite for snakes. For them, gasoline and diesel smell confusing or threatening.
But on an occasion where you can’t make a fire, what do you do? If you have a hammock with you, then use that instead of sleeping on the ground.
However, if you don’t have a hammock, sleeping options that you can do is elevate your sleeping space by making a makeshift platform made out of arm-sized branches or sleep on the RV.
Can Snakes Bite Through Tents or Sleeping Bags?
Many consider snakes biting through tents or sleeping bags as a myth. However, this is a scenario that’s not impossible to occur. Depending on its level of aggressiveness and its growth, a snake can puncture holes in tents and sleeping bags.
To give you a rough idea, let’s compare the average thickness of sleeping bags and tents to the average length of snake fangs.
The thickness of sleeping bags and tents usually falls within measures of millimeters, which means that they’re not that thick. Include the additional layering, if there are any, and thickness averages 1 inch at most.
On the other hand, the fangs of fully grow snakes are between 1 – 2 inches. If you compare it to the average thickness of tents and sleeping bags, it’s safe to say that snakes can easily bite through.
Snakes are most likely to bite through the tent during mating season. During mating season, snakes are cross and won’t think twice about biting any strange object that they stumble with.
But know that there are specific snake species that might bite through the tents or sleeping bags even if it’s not mating season. Highly aggressive snakes such as rattlesnakes, gaboon vipers, and Mojave green won’t think twice about digging their fangs on the sleeping bags or tents.
How about the aggressive black mamba? This snake is only found in specific parts of Africa. That’s why you shouldn’t worry about it unless you’re camping there.
Do Snakes Crawl Into Sleeping Bags?
So you left the campsite to look for firewood or check the traps, and you forgot to fold the sleeping bag and left it out in the open. The question is; Can a snake slip into the sleeping bag undetected?
The answer is a profound yes. A sleeping bag provides a lot of shade during the daytime and optimal warmth during nighttime – habitat conditions that snakes love.
That’s why you shouldn’t fail to tuck the sleeping bag every time you’re not using it. You have to follow this tip faithfully if you don’t want to sleep in a sleeping bag with a snake between your legs.
If you’re lazy to tuck the sleeping bag after you used it, you can just hang it on a tree or any other high-standing object in the campsite that’s exposed to a lot of sunlight.
Understand that a snake, which found its way on the sleeping bag, won’t think twice about biting the moment you enter. The most susceptible parts of your body are the arms, hands, legs, and feet
Veteran campers always shake the sleeping bag before using it for the night. The act of shaking easily reveals the presence of snakes, no matter how small.
But what if a snake did bit you while you’re in the tent or you’re about to slip into the sleeping bag? In case you failed to protect yourself, head to the section below to learn how to treat a snake bite while camping.
How To Treat A Snake Bite While Camping?
Assuming That A Non-Venomous Snake Bit You
Bites from non-venomous snakes are painful but aren’t life-threatening. You’re fine so long as the wound doesn’t get infected. Remedies that you can do are as follows:
- bath the wound with lukewarm water
- cover it with strips of cloth
- prevent it from getting moist
- use lemon balm, lavender, comfrey, and other wild camping herbs
But what are the non-venomous snakes that you might encounter while camping? Here they are:
- Eastern Hognose snake – has a broad head and an upturned snout. It can appear as a snake with a yellow, gray, orange, or red coloration.
- Texas Brown Snake – a thin snake with a brown coloration and dark spots on its back
- Texas Rat Snake – has a streamlined light brown or gray colored body
- Rough Green Snake – a snake with a dominant emerald coloration and white scales on its belly
- Eastern Yellow-Bellied Racer – a snake that resembles the look of venomous cottonmouth snakes
- Blotched Water Snake – has a brown coloration that’s mixed with dark brown diamond-shaped patterns
- Broad Banded Water Snake – has a robust constitution that’s embedded with yellow and dark colorations.
Assuming That A Venomous Snake Bit You
If a venomous snake bit you, don’t get nervous. This is very crucial. Getting shaky will accelerate your heart rate. Your blood pressure rises when this happens, making it easy for the venom to spread.
Get a cloth and tie the portion of your body just above the wound. Remember to tie tightly so that the venom that’s on the wound doesn’t spread fast.
After tying, get water lukewarm water and clean the wound. This will be painful, so bear with it. Find a stick (you will need this for support ) and walk back to your car.
While on your way to your car, call 911 and inform the officers of your circumstances. Don’t forget to call friends or family who can immediately come to your rescue.
After doing all of these, wait patiently in the car. Monitor your breathing and heart rate. Keep staying calm until help arrives. If a veterinary clinic, hospital, or ranger outpost is only a few meters away, you may also drive toward it if you can manage.
How Do You Keep Snakes Away When Camping?
Bring A Portable MP3 Player
Snakes don’t have ears. However, they can feel vibrations from sounds. Strong vibrations scare them. That’s why bringing a portable MP3 player and playing it loudly is a viable method to keep them away.
Ideal sounds for you to play on the MP3 player are music with high bass output. Examples are EDM and modern pop songs
De-Clutter The Campsite
Don’t forget to keep the campsite orderly. Clear it of dead leaves, branches, large rocks, and other objects where snakes can potentially hide.
Aside from the campsite, the tent itself has to be orderly too. Fold all used clothing because a snake might hide under them if you leave them scattered on the flooring. On the other hand, if you’re using a sleeping bag, fold it, hang it, or keep it close if not in use.
Whip Grasses With A Stick
If thick grasses surround the campsite, get a stick and whip them. The whipping will cause a ruckus, and this will scare the snakes hiding underneath. Of course, the stick that you should use is long ( at least 2 meters) so that you don’t get bitten if ever snakes are really present.
Avoid Throwing Bits Of Food Around The Campsite
Throwing bits of food around the campsite attracts small mammals and birds. Snakes see these as food. That’s why the frequent visitation of small mammals and birds makes your tent more susceptible to the presence of snakes.
Instead of throwing, keep fruit peels, leftovers, and other bits of food in odor-free resealable cellophane. This method keeps birds and small mammals away effectively. Also, it’s an environment-friendly option in keeping the tent clean since you’re not littering.
Get A Dog Or A Cat
A dog or a cat doesn’t keep snakes away. However, alerts you of the presence of snakes. Cats and dogs have keen eyesight. They can easily see snakes even if their well-camouflaged to the surroundings. Also, no matter how discreet the snakes slither, dogs and cats can hear them.
What Smell Do Snake Hate?
Snakes don’t like the smell of ammonia. There are numerous ways for you to utilize ammonia to chase snakes away. One method is to spread 1 – 3 bottles on the grass or ground surrounding the campsite. You may also slather a bit of ammonia on the sleeping bag or tent.
The smell of garlic is also unbearable to snakes. Snakes get disoriented once they’re exposed to strong scents of garlic. Garlic is the most effective natural repellent against snakes. This is the reason why huge gardens always have this herb.
A citrusy smell is refreshing for us humans. However, it’s a curse upon snakes. Scents that come from lime, orange, and other citrus fruits affect the snakes’ eyesight and nose. Citrusy smells make the snakes lose their sense of direction or lose track of their prey.
Try using cinnamon oil too. It’s common knowledge that snakes never get near things that get sprayed with this. The snakes’ sense of smell is very sensitive to cinnamon oil. It’s not clear how cinnamon oil smells like for snakes. However, they can’t stand it. In case you don’t like cinnamon oil, clove oil is also equally effective.
Do Fake Owls Keep Snakes Away?
Fake owls keep snakes away. But how? Owls are the natural predators of snakes. That’s why anything that excellently resembles owls scares them. Of course, for the fake owls to work well. They must be visible to the snakes. So if you’re planning to get fake owls for camping, get ones that are big and brightly colored.
It’s even better if the fake owl is installed with a built-in sound. This will fool the snakes into thinking that the fake owl is real. Still, fake owls don’t work all the time. They might fail to scare snakes that have grown more than 2 – 3 meters in length.