Avoiding And Dealing With Snake Bite

RattlesnakeThere are very few places in the world where snakes do not live. And many of them are poisonous. In North America, there are a number that you need to avoid being bitten by. And if you are bitten, there are certain things you need to do. In SHTF scenarios you may be forced to deal with snakes in ways you are not normally used to. You will probably be out of touch with usual medical facilities, so if you are bitten you will have to handle it yourself.

I recently wrote an article on how to harvest and eat snake, primarily rattlesnake, called “Snake Filet” But there are a number of critical things a survivalist and prepper need to know when dealing with poisonous reptiles in a SHTF situation. The primary consideration is going to be that you will probably not have access to modern medical treatment. You will be on your own. And that takes a different mental attitude towards poisonous reptiles. This article is primarily directed towards those who love in North America, but the concepts remain the same world-wide. The first consideration in dealing with snakebite is avoid being bit to begin with! Know the types of poisonous snakes that live in your area and their habits. There are some good references that will educate you and you can click on the ones illustrated to learn more about them.

Identify, Know, and AvoidVenemos snakes of the world

There are basically four venomous snakes in North America to know and avoid. Understanding how to identify them and their habits will go a long way to avoid being bitten.

Copperhed snakeThe Copperhead

This snake is responsible for most of the snake bites in the United States. They typically range in the Eastern part of the country. Although venomous, they are usually not aggressive and bites are seldom fatal. They will often employ a “warning bite” and not inject a lot of venom. They are also known to “dry bite” without injecting venom.Their bites are still painful. Bite symptoms include extreme pain, tingling, throbbing, swelling, and severe nausea.

The Coral SnakeCoral_snake

This snake is probably the most dangerous snake you will encounter in North America. Their venom is a powerful neurotoxin that can shut down your nervous system and stop your heart. These snakes are reclusive and usually only bite in last resort self-defense. Avoiding them is the best bet. Their coloring consists of red, yellow, and black bands that ring the body. This arrangement is similar to the harmless King snake, and they are often mistaken for each other. The order of the colored rings is different. A good jingle to remember in order to distinguish them is “Red next to black is a friend of Jack; red next to yellow will kill a fellow.”Their southern range is in the  mainly temperate U.S. states. Coral snakes are found in scattered localities in the southern coastal plain from North Carolina to Louisiana, including all of Florida. They are also found in Texas and another version inhabit Arizona. They are all extremely dangerous.

The Cottonmouth (Also Known as the Water moccasin)Cottonmouth_Snake,_Gaping

These snakes are found in the Southeastern part of the United States. When cornered, they will stand their ground, opening their mouth exposing the white interior, thus the name Cottonmouth. The venom is rich with tissue-destructive enzymes which can leave serious scars. Although reported to be non-aggressive, they have been known to drop into boats from tree branches.

The RattlesnakeRattlesnake

This is probable the most well-known of the North American snakes. They range from southern Alberta and southern British Columbia in Canada to Central Argentina. They will often give warning before striking by rattling the set of rattles on the end of their tail, but sometimes don’t. Most species of rattlesnakes can control how much venom to inject. The venom is hemotoxic, destroying tissue.

New encyclopedia of snakesDefense Against Snake Bite

Awareness is the best defense against being bitten. Do not place your hands in places you cannot see beforehand. Watch where you step. When gathering wood, wear heavy gloves. If you are going to be traveling by foot in snake infested areas, you might want to consider a pair of snake gaiters.

snake gaitersBe careful when stepping in areas where snakes could be hiding such as under or around rocks and logs. If you are entering an area where you can not see your feet, kick ahead of you to give snakes enough warning and time to slither away.

 First Aid For Snake Bite

If you have access to medical care, keep the victim calm and evacuate. Keep the bitten area below the level of the heart. If you are in the wilderness by yourself, wash the bite with soap and water, dress the bite, and keep the bitten area below the heart. Allow the bite to bleed freely for 15 – 30 seconds before cleansing. Clean the wound, but don’t flush with water. Cover it with a clean, dry dressing. Without access to anti-venom, survival is going to depend on how much venom was injected, the size of the individual, and the health of the individual. Even if they survive, the victim is going to be extremely sick for some time. Do not try to suck the venom out, or use ice as a compress. For various reasons these actions will make the situation worse. Remove constricting items on the victim, such as rings or other jewelry, which could cut off blood flow if the bite area swells.

In a SHTF situation, it is critical that you avoid being bitten by a venomous snake. Learn the snakes in your local, know their habits, and avoid them.

3 thoughts on “Avoiding And Dealing With Snake Bite

    • All of the research I was able to do indicates that suction devices may actually make the situation worse by damaging capillaries. I haven’t found any in-depth description of this, but I am sure it is out there. I suspect that many urban dwellers who may have to bug out in SHTF are not going to be prepared to avoid being bitten, even though it is simple common sense. If you run on to any serious information for snake bite first aid that works beyond what I posted, please share it. Thanks


  1. Pingback: Avoiding And Dealing With Snake Bite | Azweaponcraftprepper

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