Snake Bite Prevention

Many snake bites can be prevented as most snakes are not aggressive toward humans unless they sense danger. Consequently, avoidance of snakes usually prevents a bite, so people should not try to handle, capture or threaten (for example, tease with a stick) any snake. Statistical studies suggest that about 40% of all snake bites in the US occur in people that consumed alcoholic drinks. If a person’s workplace involves areas known to be a habitat of snakes, wearing protective boots, thick pants, and gloves may reduce the chances of a snake bite; or at least it may reduce the bite trauma and the amount of venom distributed.

People can usually avoid snake bites by doing the following:

  • Regularly trim hedges, keep your lawn mowed, and remove brush from your yard and any nearby vacant lots. This will reduce the number of places where snakes like to live.
  • Don’t allow children to play in vacant lots with tall grass and weeds.
  • Avoiding handling snakes in the wild
  • Avoiding trying to kill or capture a snake
  • Avoid keeping venomous snakes
  • Slowly back away from and avoid touching any snake that is encountered.
  • Giving a snake room to get away if one appears
  • Do not pick up a snake or try to trap it.
  • Never handle even snakes dead.
  • Staying away from places where there may be snakes, such as areas with tall grass, shrubs, or piles of rocks
  • When moving through areas with tall grass and weeds, always poke at the ground ahead of you with a long stick or pole to scare any snakes away.
  • Wearing high-top leather boots, thick pants, and gloves at all times when walking through or working in areas of dense vegetation or outdoors.
  • Avoid working outside during the night and in warmer weather, which is when snakes are most active.
  • Be careful about where hands and feet are placed. For example, avoid reaching into spaces, holes, or underneath objects without first being sure a snake is not hiding underneath.
  • Do not lie down or sit down in areas where snakes might be located.
  • Camp only in areas away from swamps, streams, dense foliage, and other places that snakes are known to inhabit.
  • If you see a snake in your home, immediately call the animal control agency in your county.
  • Be aware of snakes that may be swimming in the water or hiding under debris or other objects.
  • If you or someone you know are bitten, try to see and remember the color and shape of the snake.
  • Learn to identify poisonous snakes and avoid them.

Snakes are most active in the spring, early summer, and fall. Most snakebites occur between April and October, when weather is warm and outdoor activities are popular.

After a natural disaster, snakes may have been forced from their natural habitats and move into areas where they would not normally be seen or expected. When you return to your home, be cautious of snakes that may have sought shelter in your home. If you see a snake in your home, immediately call the animal control agency in your county.