What To Do If You Are Bitten By A Snake While Hiking?

Snake bites can be dangerous, and it’s important to know what to do if you are bitten by a snake. 

First, remain calm and think about the situation for a few minutes before doing anything. If possible, try to stay at the location where you were bitten so that medical help can easily find you in case you need it. Call 911 or another emergency service if there is one nearby. 

This will not only get help quickly but also provide an exact location for first responders when they arrive on scene.

Snake Bite Tips and Tricks | How To Avoid Snakes While Hiking
Remain calm and try to remember the snake’s characteristics.
Remove any restrictive clothing or jewelry near the bite area.
Keep the bitten limb below heart level to slow the spread of venom.
Seek immediate medical attention and call emergency services.
Avoid applying tourniquets or ice to the bite area.
Stay on designated trails and avoid tall grass and underbrush.
Wear protective footwear, such as sturdy hiking boots.
Watch where you step and use a walking stick to probe the ground ahead.
Be cautious when lifting rocks, logs, or other objects where snakes may hide.
Learn to identify venomous snakes in the area and keep a safe distance.

Remain Calm

Remain calm. Snake bites are scary and painful, but by remaining calm you can help your body handle the situation better.

Do not move the injured area. If a snake has bitten you, don’t do anything to try to suck out its venom or move the injured area around too much. Doing so could cause more damage in your body and make it harder for emergency workers to treat you properly once they arrive on scene.

Stay still and wait for help. The best thing to do after being bitten by a snake is to remain still while waiting for medical assistance from emergency responders like firefighters, paramedics or lifeguards who are trained in this type of situation

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Don’t Get Excited

There are a lot of things you can do wrong in this situation. Don’t try to suck out the venom, don’t try to cut the wound and don’t move around too much. 

The best thing you can do is remain calm and sit down quietly until someone comes along who can help.

If that doesn’t happen, try to stay warm with your clothes on until help arrives (keep in mind that some species of snake are more aggressive than others)

Take deep breathsFocus on your breathing to help calm your mind and body.
Practice mindfulnessEngage in present-moment awareness to stay grounded and focused.
Use positive self-talkRemind yourself to stay calm and composed in the situation.
Visualize a calming imagePicture a serene scene or a peaceful place to help relax your mind.
Take a break if neededStep away from the situation briefly to regain composure.
Avoid overthinkingRefrain from dwelling on negative thoughts and maintain a positive mindset.
Use relaxation techniquesEmploy techniques like meditation or progressive muscle relaxation to reduce anxiety.
Seek supportReach out to a trusted friend or family member for encouragement and reassurance.
Stay organizedCreate a plan or checklist to stay focused and prevent becoming overwhelmed.
Maintain a balanced perspectiveRemind yourself of the bigger picture and focus on what is within your control.

Call For Help

If a snake bites you, you need to call for help as soon as possible. Call the local poison control center or your doctor and tell them what happened. You can also call 911 if it is an emergency situation.

If you are alone and cannot reach anyone else, try to get yourself to a hospital as soon as possible.

If you have someone with you who isn’t injured by the snake bite and can drive, they should drive so that they do not put themselves in danger while driving under the influence of fear!

Make Sure The Snake Is Safely Away From You

If you are bitten by a snake while hiking, it is important to make sure the snake is safely away from you. 

You do not want to approach it or try killing it. This may be difficult if you feel threatened or panicked after being bitten by a venomous snake. 

However, if the bite was caused by a non-venomous viper like a garter snake or water moccasin (cottonmouth), then killing this type of animal will be easier and less painful than killing a rattlesnake or copperhead. 

It is also important to note that these animals cannot be identified from their markings alone; however, identifying them can help determine whether they will cause any harm to humans in your area.

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Remove Any Jewelry

The next step is to remove any jewelry or watches. It is also important to remove clothing, if possible. 

If your clothes are too tight or you’d rather not remove them, be sure to keep an eye on the swelling and mark it with a pen so that you know when it’s time for medical treatment.

It is important not to move around at this point because movement may cause more venom to enter your body. 

If there’s something solid below your feet (such as a rock), try placing one foot in front of the other and bending over slowly until all of your weight is resting on that leg; then place both hands firmly against a tree trunk or rock wall and lean into it while keeping both feet planted on their respective surfaces. 

This will help slow down any further absorption from the bite site by keeping steady pressure on nearby tissue areas that might otherwise allow more venom into other tissues farther away from where it entered originally (this can happen even after antivenom has been administered).

Use jewelry removersUtilize specialized tools like ring removers or bracelet fasteners for easy removal.
Seek professional assistanceVisit a jeweler or professional who can safely remove the jewelry for you.
Follow manufacturer instructionsRefer to the specific instructions provided by the brand to remove your jewelry properly.
Apply lubricantsApply lubricants such as oil or lotion to help loosen tight-fitting jewelry.
Twist gentlyGradually and gently twist the jewelry to ease it off without causing damage or discomfort.
Use water or soapWetting your skin or using soap can help reduce friction and facilitate jewelry removal.
Seek medical help if necessaryIn case of swelling or if the jewelry cannot be removed, consult a medical professional.
Be cautious with delicate piecesHandle fragile or delicate jewelry with extra care to prevent breakage during removal.
Use dental floss or threadSlide dental floss or thread under a ring to create a loop and gradually unwind it.
Stay calm and patientRemaining calm and patient is key to removing jewelry without causing harm or frustration.

Note The Time Of The Bite

The time of the bite is important, as it can give you an idea of how much time you have before you need medical attention.

In general, snake venom takes about one hour to take effect and affect your body. The longer you wait for help, the more likely it is that you’ll need medical treatment.

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Don’t Move Too Far Away From The Location

If you are bitten by a snake, don’t move too far away from the location. You will need to be able to find your way back if you’re traveling solo. 

If there is more than one person in your hiking party, one person should stay behind and watch over the bitten hiker while they wait for medical help; while it’s not ideal to leave someone alone with an injury, it’s better than moving them farther away from help and risking getting lost in search of assistance.

In addition to staying put so that first-responders can find them easily (they’ll probably advise against trying any kind of DIY self-treatment), hikers who have been bitten should also consider remaining where they were bitten until any animals that may have been exposed are dealt with as well. 

If a rattlesnake bit a dog or cat near you on the trail or if a venomous spider bit an animal—it’s important for all involved parties to remain nearby until someone trained in animal first aid arrives at the scene.

Look For Medical Aid

After you’re sure that the snake is gone, it’s time to look for medical help. The first thing to do is call 911 if you are in a remote area and have cell phone service. 

If there is no cell service, try to get to a hospital or clinic as soon as possible. If the bite is deep or if your child does not feel well, call 911 immediately.

Remove Clothing And Shoes If You Can Do It Without Causing Further Damage

If you are bitten by a venomous snake, remove your clothing and shoes if you can do so without causing further damage. 

This will reduce swelling and limit the spread of venom. Try to keep yourself as still as possible while seeking medical attention.

You should also look for someone who can call 911 (or your equivalent). If there is no cell phone reception, try to flag down a car or get to an area where you can use a landline phone to contact emergency services.

If it’s safe for you to move around, take note of the area where you were bitten and mark it with something like rocks or sticks so that others don’t come in contact with it while they’re looking for medical aid or taking photos of their hike from another vantage point. 

The site may not be visible from every direction due to vegetation, so marking it will ensure no one wanders into harm’s way unknowingly when searching for help on their way back down the trail!

Assess the situationEvaluate if removing the clothing or shoes will prevent further damage or injury.
Use cautionBe gentle and careful while removing clothing and shoes to avoid causing additional harm.
Seek professional assistance if neededConsult medical professionals or experts for assistance in safely removing clothing or shoes.
Utilize specialized toolsUse appropriate tools like scissors or cutters designed for safely removing clothing or shoes.
Follow brand instructionsRefer to the specific instructions provided by the brand for proper removal techniques.
Cut away if necessaryIf removal is necessary and safe, carefully cut away clothing or shoes to minimize damage.
Consider accessibilityPrioritize accessibility and choose removal methods that are most feasible and least harmful.
Minimize movementReduce unnecessary movement that could exacerbate injuries or cause further damage.
Stay calm and composedMaintaining a calm demeanor helps ensure careful and controlled removal of clothing and shoes.
Seek medical attention after removalAfter safely removing clothing or shoes, seek appropriate medical attention for injuries.

Use A Marker To Indicate The Swelling

A marker can be used to mark the swelling. You’ll want to use a marker that is easy to remove, and not a permanent marker. 

If you use a permanent marker on your skin, it may stain your skin and make it harder for the doctor to see where you were bitten or if there are any other marks on your body.

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Apply A Bandage Over Bite, But Not Too Tightly

If you have been bitten by a snake, apply a bandage over the bite. Do not apply too tightly. Apply ice packs to reduce swelling and speed up the process of venom absorption. If you are in an isolated area or if medical help is more than an hour away, call 911.

Apply Ice Packs To Reduce Swelling And Slow Absorption Of Venom

You should also apply ice packs to reduce swelling and slow absorption of venom. Ice packs can be made from a bag of frozen vegetables or ice cubes in a plastic bag. 

Apply the ice pack to the site of the bite, hold it in place for at least 20 minutes, then re-apply as needed until your symptoms start to improve.

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If you are bitten by a snake while hiking, there are some things you can do to make sure that the bite doesn’t become infected or lead to other problems. 

First, stay calm and try not to move around too much. You should also call for help right away so that someone else can bring medical supplies if needed. Once you’ve done all these things, it’s best just leave the rest up to nature!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for further reading on snake bites while hiking:


How can I prevent snake bites while hiking?

To prevent snake bites while hiking, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay on designated trails and avoid tall grass and underbrush.
  • Wear protective footwear, such as sturdy hiking boots.
  • Watch where you step and use a walking stick to probe the ground ahead.
  • Be cautious when lifting rocks, logs, or other objects where snakes may hide.
  • Learn to identify venomous snakes in the area and keep a safe distance.

What should I do if I am bitten by a snake while hiking?

If bitten by a snake while hiking, take the following steps:

  • Stay calm and try to remember the snake’s characteristics.
  • Remove any restrictive clothing or jewelry near the bite area.
  • Keep the bitten limb below heart level to slow the spread of venom.
  • Seek immediate medical attention and call emergency services.
  • Avoid applying tourniquets or ice to the bite area, as these can worsen the condition.

How do I identify venomous snakes in the wild?

To identify venomous snakes, look for the following characteristics:

  • Triangular-shaped heads and vertical pupils (though not all venomous snakes have these features).
  • Heat-sensing pits located between the eye and nostril.
  • Rattles on the tail (in the case of rattlesnakes).
  • Bright or distinct color patterns (although some venomous snakes can also be dull in color).

What are the common symptoms of a snake bite?

Common symptoms of a snake bite may include:

  • Pain, swelling, and redness at the bite site.
  • Bleeding or bruising around the bite area.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or dizziness.
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
  • Rapid pulse or heartbeat.

Can I treat a snake bite in the wild?

While waiting for medical assistance, you can perform the following first aid measures for a snake bite:

  • Keep the bitten limb immobilized and positioned at or below heart level.
  • Clean the wound gently with mild soap and water.
  • Apply a clean, dry dressing to the bite site.
  • Monitor vital signs and seek immediate medical help.
  • Do not try to suck out venom or use snake bite kits, as they are ineffective and can cause harm.