By Travis Birch
You don’t have to be an outdoors type of person to be affected by snakes. Naturally though, the more time you spend outside, and the closer you encroach on their natural habitat, the more likely you are to come across one. I remember as a boy, asking my Father, what are snake bites? what is the best way to prevent getting bit by a snake, and he said simply, “Avoid them, and they’ll avoid you.”
Well, that might have been fine then, but today our family is preparing to live a life off the grid, away from the hustle and bustle of the confines of the city. We will come face to face with these reptiles, as well as other critters. Another point that is very important to remember, not all snakes are poisonous. Snakes also aren’t going out of their way to get to you. So we set out to avoid them in the best possible way, employing cats, Snake repellent.
Our property includes gardens, root cellars, water wells and other natural water sources. These will attract rodents, and rodents are a food source that snakes will go out of their way to obtain. We keep several cats, (spayed and neutered) loose on the property. They keep the rodent population in check, and this drives the snakes in other directions for the next meal. So we love our cats, including Chester.
Being prepared means to be ready for any situation. So we prep as if we will encounter a snake bite in our family any day. We keep a snake bite extractor kit close at hand in the event that we have to deal with a bite, Snakebite Kit. These are available online and at most camping stores. We go over the actions to avoid if one of us is bit by a snake. You must relax. It may seem difficult, but if you can keep yourself composed, you are less likely to stimulate yourself and increase your blood pressure. This can help minimize the effects of the venom. Don’t suck it out. This will only further the potential of the venom. Remove jewelry. This will prevent swelling around that area. No tourniquets, and do not ice it down.
An important piece we keep around is a book that helps us all identify different snakes, Snake ID Book. The book also informs us of the type of environment they live in. We review this about once a week, and we quiz each other. Because you may receive a snake bite, and not realize it, there are several symptoms to be aware of. If you think that you may have been bitten by a snake, or if you start to exhibit some of these symptoms, get medical attention quickly. Puncture marks, swelling or puffy redness starting to appear. Pain that is exclusive to a specific area, along with fever may be an indication of a snake bite, regardless of a venomous snake or not. If you exhibit the above-mentioned symptoms, and then you feel nausea, or start vomiting, or have troubled or blurred vision, you may be showing signs of venom being introduced to your system.
Finally, there are a couple of things we keep handy in case of a snake bite. This is something that we have learned when a neighbor was bitten by a copperhead snake. When they arrived at the hospital, the staff wouldn’t administer the anti-venom unless they had the affected snake in sight to ensure they were giving the proper medicine. This may be exclusive to just one facility, or it could be the victim was very unsure of the attacking reptile, either way, if one of our family members is bit by a venomous snake, I take a Machete and bag the snake to get our victim the proper anti-venom, Burlap Sacks.
If you find yourself in a situation that involves a snake bite, and you can’t avoid it, get the victim to relax. Apply proper first aid, and attempt to extract the venom as you are being driven by vehicle to the medical facility.