Bushwalking during snake season

From spring through to winter it is snake season in Australia and time to keep a constant eye out for our little slithery friends. When on the trail avoid hiking in areas where snakes are known to be. As Australia is home to several venomous snake species, it’s important to take precautions to avoid encountering snakes and minimise the risk of snake bites.

Australian Eastern Tiger Snake
Australian Eastern Tiger Snake

Here’s some tips to help you avoid snakes in Australia

  1. Stay on designated paths and trails: Stick to well-trodden paths and avoid walking through tall grass, undergrowth, or other areas where snakes may be hiding.
  2. Wear appropriate footwear: When hiking or exploring outdoor areas, wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots to protect your feet from potential snake bites.
  3. Be cautious in snake habitats: Be extra vigilant in areas known to be snake habitats, such as rocky outcrops, grasslands, or forests. Keep a safe distance from these areas if possible. Stay out of tall grass and on the trail as much as possible. If you must invade snake territory, wear long pants, ankle-high boots, or even snake-proof gaiters.
  4. Watch where you put your hands and feet: Always keep your hands and feet out of areas where you are unable to see them and be careful around rocks or while picking up firewood. Be careful when stepping in areas where snakes could be hiding, such as under rocks or 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.
  5. Use a torch at night: Snakes are more active at night, so if you’re out after dark, use a torch to illuminate your surroundings and watch your step carefully.
  6. Keep your campsite tidy: Snakes may be attracted to areas with tall grass, debris, or clutter where they can hide. Keep the area around your tent clear.
  7. Avoid disturbing snakes: If you encounter a snake, keep your distance and do not try to handle or disturb it. Snakes are generally shy and will usually move away if given enough space.
  8. Stay alert and observe warning signs: Pay attention to warning signs indicating the presence of snakes, especially in national parks, reserves, or other natural areas. Follow any instructions or guidelines provided by local authorities.
  9. Educate yourself about snake identification: Learn about the different snake species found in your area, their habitats, and their typical behavior. This can help you recognise potential danger and take appropriate precautions.
  10. Keep pets under control: Snakes may be attracted to movement and noise created by pets, so keep your pets on a leash and under control when you’re in snake-prone areas.
  11. Carry a snake bite kit: If you’re venturing into remote areas or places where medical assistance may be limited, consider carrying a snake bite kit that includes bandages and a compression bandage to immobilise the affected limb in case of a snake bite.

Snakes can strike from a distance of half their body length. Let the snake slip away, or walk around it. When scrambling up rocky trails, watch where you put your hands, especially on sunny ledges. Remember, if you do encounter a snake or are bitten by a snake, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Snake bites can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening, and professional medical treatment is essential.

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