Need to get away from it all? A trip to the great outdoors can be the perfect way to unwind. But it won’t always be the relaxing getaway you imagine. There are lots of little critters and creepy crawlies out in the wild that can turn any outdoor excursion sour. Among the worst? Snakes, of course.
There are over 2,500 different species of snakes worldwide, and the majority of them are equipped with venom that can easily kill prey several hundred times its size. And as you would have probably guessed, that means that a single snake bite could mean the end of a person’s existence.
Fortunately, snakes don’t naturally prey on humans. But that doesn’t mean they won’t bite when confronted. If you find yourself in the middle of a snake encounter, here are a few tips to help you steer clear of those venomous fangs.
Know Its Body Language
Snakes know just by looking at you that you won’t make a tasty meal. So if it were to bite you, it would be a defensive move. During an encounter, stay as still as possible and try to understand the snake’s body language. If it continues to slither on the ground, then it’s likely to move away and leave without a fight. But if it rears its head upwards and flattens out its neck to form a hood, then it’s probably getting ready to strike.
Don’t Try to Intimidate It
There’s a false belief that flailing your arms around and trying to make yourself look bigger can scare away a snake. But because of their aggressive nature, snakes are more likely to attack than retreat when they’re threatened. So don’t try any intimidation tactics.
Instead, move away slowly, avoid sudden movements, and don’t take your eyes off the snake. Once you create enough distance, run away as fast as possible. The snake is unlikely to give pursuit and might choose instead to retreat as well.
Avoid Hurting It
Another thing that people think of as an effective deterrent against snake bites is the fight response. With a poised snake ready to strike right in front of you, you might think that wielding your own aggression in response can save your skin.
But snakes are much faster than humans, so even if you’ve got good aim, there’s no guarantee that you’ll hit it with a rock or stick. What’s more, a snake’s vulnerable areas are closer to its head, so if you wanted to kill it, you’d have to get close to its fangs to deliver a lethal shot.
In all instances, avoid approaching snakes – that includes trying to hit it. Remain calm and move away slowly. Even if the specimen is poised to strike, you have better chances of leaving the scene scot-free if you choose to disengage instead of confronting the fanged fury head-on.