What to do about snakes

Discussion in 'Flora & Fauna' started by Red Dirt Walker, Dec 31, 2017.

  1. Red Dirt Walker

    Red Dirt Walker Tinder Gatherer

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    I've been on this forum for sometime, but mostly lurking. I started here to learn about Bushcraft skills and get advice. One thing that I don't remember seeing though is advice on how to deal with snakes. I have camped in tents plenty, but I have never tried camping the night in a lean-to or simply under the stars.

    I my area I have Copperheads, Cottonmouths, and potentially rattlesnakes. How do you handle the possibility of one crawling into bed with you?

    If that happens, what do you do when you wake up?
     
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  2. Simplejack

    Simplejack Supporter Supporter

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    I sleep on the ground all the time. I think they avoid humans. And the fire is warmer than you. Just knock em on the head with a big stick
     
  3. DarrylM

    DarrylM Supporter Supporter

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    Keeping out of the ground-crawling creepies is the number 1 reason to consider a hammock.
     
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  4. NevadaBlue

    NevadaBlue Graybeard Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    We had an infestation of Great Basin Rattlesnakes at our previous home. We killed a dozen two years ago and half dozen last year. They are afraid of NOTHING and just crawl right by. Scared the crap out of me. One bite would do a human damage and for sure kill my little dog.
    I don't know what to do to keep them away from camp. I never had a problem when camping in snake country, but I sure don't want to be 'whacking them with a big stick... in the dark! LOL...
    We did use sulfur and moth ball mixture around the house, which seemed to work until we had a large wildfire nearby. I think it drove the snakes out of the burned areas and into the areas around the house.
     
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  5. Bobsdock

    Bobsdock Still going Supporter

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    I've camped a long while now and have never woke up to a snake. If I see them in the bush I give them a wide bearth. I have woke up to raccoon and possum armadillo and one time an elk.
     
  6. Pastor Chris

    Pastor Chris Keeper of the T.Darrah Tenkara Pass-Around Hobbyist Supporter Bushcraft Friend Hardwoodsman Bushclass II

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    I always make sure Jake leaves is pet rat at home during camping trips for just this reason.
     
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  7. Mikewood

    Mikewood Supporter Supporter

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    Never had an issue.
     
  8. gila_dog

    gila_dog Supporter Supporter

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    During snake season I always have a flashlight on me at night when I'm camping. Evening is when they come out to hunt, and they could be anywhere. With a light you have a better chance of seeing them and not stepping on them. Without a light you just take your chances when walking around. I don't sleep on the ground unless it's inside a zipped up tent. My hammock is much safer and more comfy. But if I get up at night to take a whizz I find my light and look around when I get out of my hammock or go outside the tent. Keep your boots and clothes off the ground too, or snakes, scorpions, spiders, and ants can get inside and bite you when you put your clothes on.
     
  9. GreyOne

    GreyOne Elder Lifetime Supporter

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    The actual chance of a snake crawling into your sleep gear is pretty remote. More likely to die from a falling widow maker.:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  10. Crusher0032

    Crusher0032 Appalachian Arthfael Supporter

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    I have the same snakes here and have had a few close calls during the day, but never an issue in camp at night. Keeping away from log piles and deadfalls in the warm months is the big thing. I do keep either a head lamp or my microstream on a lanyard attached to me at night and I always carry a .357 with at least one shot shell to deal with Mr. No Legs. I try to leave snakes alone, but won't have copperheads or rattlers around my home.
     
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  11. MASC1104

    MASC1104 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    There are copperheads and water moccasins in my AO as well as rattlers in areas further out.

    I am either in a tent or a bivy, not neccesarily because of snakes but mostly cause of other creepy crawlies and that is just what i am comfortable doing.

    Do what you are comfortable with doing.
     
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  12. Jacob

    Jacob Supporter Supporter

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    I almost always sleep on the ground and have never had an issue with snakes. I woke up a couple of feet from a skunk once. And by a kangaroo rat hopping across my chest, but I’ve never been bothered by a snake. I’m much more concerned with stepping on one then being bothered at night.

    Where I live, Rattlers in particular tend to post up when you head their direction. King and bull snakes tend to slither away slowly and gartner snakes haul butt away from you. But they’re all aware of your presence and none of them are dumb enough to pursue a confrontation. I’ve always assumed that if they can sense a mouse’s footfalls and smell the air then they must be aware of a sleeping person.

    As for your last question, I’d recommend sitting *really* still.
     
  13. Winterhorse

    Winterhorse Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Once, over fifty five years ago at boy scout camp I had a copperhead under the tent platform. Other than that the most terrifying thing I’ve experienced is a crawdad that crawled into my blanket for some reason during a float trip. I guess it happens but I’ve never heard of a first hand account of anybody who’s actually awakend to anything scarier than a mouse running acrouse their sleeping bag. Kinda creepy but you figure out what happens and go back to sleep. Most things in the forest don’t want to mess with waking something weighing a hundred pounds or more. Figure it like this: dear, coyotes, bears, skunks, etc. sleep on the ground. Mice might have cause to worry but not a huge, carnivorous beast snoring away in the night.
    Rest easy.
     
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  14. wrath0r

    wrath0r Supporter Supporter

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  15. gwynn1975

    gwynn1975 Misguided Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    I wouldn't worry too much about it like most have said. Spent 9 years in the infantry (read, sleep on the ground all the time) never had a snake crawl in bed with me, unless you count my ex wife.
    If one does, grab it right behind the head, kill it and save it for breakfast
     
  16. Bryan King

    Bryan King Hobbyist Hobbyist

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    I've had coyote & Fox's come into camp but not snake's and we're infested with rattlesnake, copperheads been lucky I guess , really just try not to think about it. But imagine waking up with one in your bed.
     
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  17. mtnoutdoors

    mtnoutdoors Prov 27:17 Supporter

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    Amen
    Prov 27 : 17
     
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  18. grizz78

    grizz78 Tracker

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    Olive oil, salt and pepper. Keep it simple
     
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  19. trust_no_one

    trust_no_one Scout

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    Snake is fairly moderate in taste. Keep a open campsite, wear footwear and when trekking about at night walk carefully and shine the ground. Some folks believe that a snake won't cross a rope. That is absolutely false.
     
  20. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I have slept on the ground quite a bit in Australia and in South America(not recommended in SA) and both places were literally crawling with snakes. A person I was with in South America had one crawl over them at night and they freaked out, which is the worst thing you can do. They jumped up and started yelling which made the rest of the group to jump up. This could have provoked a strike and could have seriously injured or killed one of us. One member of my group actually killed a fer de lance on a following evening in the same area.

    It's a rare occurrence but if a snake does happen to crawl over you at night just freeze and let it go by. It doesn't give two flips about you unless you are the size of a mouse so sooner or later will pass over you and be on it's merry way. If you have to sleep on the ground I would invest in an over body type mosquito net to pull over yourself. This will help prevent snakes and other creepy crawlies from entering your warm sleeping bag at night. I used one every night in South America and was glad I had it.
     
  21. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    I've only had one reliable report of a "snake in the sleeping bag" story in my 53 years, heard first hand from a guy who was there and helped resolve the issue, whom I trust wasn't BSing me.

    Here in LA, we have coral snakes, rattlesnakes, copperheads, and mocassins. Nov-March, I can ground-sleep with little worry. Kinda coincides with bug season. April-October, I'm back in the hammock. Never had an issue.

    If you're that worried, stick with the tent. The most important thing is to get outside and do stuff.
     
  22. longhunter

    longhunter Northman Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Never any problems with snakes did have a persistent black bear once and I introduced him to my S&W 629, end of problem.
     
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  23. TX-1948

    TX-1948 Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Copperheads are the most common poisonous snake in my AO though the occasional Timber Rattler does sometimes show itself. I have never known of one crawling in a sleeping bag, but I have had Copperheads strike at me.
    In Tennessee it is not legal to kill snakes. If one should enter your camping area you are to re-locate it. If you are threatened and have no other options, hitting it on the head with a finger sized branch will subdue it. Personally, I feel threatened when they enter my AO (front porch, back porch, yard, campsite, hiking trail). YMMV
     
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  24. Red Dirt Walker

    Red Dirt Walker Tinder Gatherer

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    Wow, lots of good answers here which basically boil down to.......I'm making a mountain out of a mole hill. I have never tried hammock camping, but it is on my to do list. I've also thought about a bivy when I do decide to try sleeping under the stars or under a lean-to style shelter.
     
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  25. Seacapt.

    Seacapt. Supporter Supporter

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    Standard snake, small rodent, deer, bear deterrent when sleeping on ground OUTSIDE or any where WELL ventilated., spread a dozen round moth balls about 2 ft. away around perimeter of sleeping area all especially snakes won't come anywhere near you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
  26. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder BCUSA Friend Bushcraft Friend

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    Lol. Feel free to copy and paste the story from our pm.
     
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  27. wrath0r

    wrath0r Supporter Supporter

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    It's more effective if you tell it yourself. Plus I can't find it. :)
     
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  28. bam7765

    bam7765 Supporter Supporter

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    Shoot stab chop or arrow the darn things
     
  29. Swarvegorilla

    Swarvegorilla Guide

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    I like snakes. Only ever been bit when I was picking them up when younger :D Leave them alone and they will leave you alone. As above, good idea to have a torch when walking around at night. If you want to get bit by a snake, statistically the best thing you can try to do is kill it.
     
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  30. backlasher

    backlasher Supporter Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    I don't like snakes! Any snake, anytime, gets my attention. I duck hunted and was sure of a couple encounters with cottonmouths. Hiking in your area brings one into copperhead territory and they don't always leave when you arrive. In addition, when leaves are on the ground, they're really hard to see. I was asked by a young guy about this and I asked a few people for their ideas and the recommended procedure was what Seeker said: hammock when they're out in force and the ground only in the middle of winter. Since we're blessed with a lot of bugs and snakes, that's the best solution to the problem.
     
  31. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Scout

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    While I understand the risk of a snake in a sleeping bag is very low, seeing one near makes me want to not sleep on the ground, and especially not in a pile of leaf litter. It's a low-risk but high-impact event. :) I fully admit that it is affected by emotion more than reason.
    When I have slept on the ground, I raked back the leaves to bare dirt around my sleeping area to make it less appealing. Having seen plenty of snakes on dirt roads, I don't know that it actually helps, but it makes me feel better.
    I will say that in warmer, snake-friendly weather, a hammock gives me elevation away from snakes and the added bonus of sleeping much cooler and more comfortably.
     
  32. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Scout

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    Actually, if I remember the statistics correctly, I think your odds of being bitten can be improved a good bit by being engaged in that activity while also being: male, in your twenties, and drinking.
    Then again, I don't know many injuries that aren't made more dangerous by those risk factors. :D
     
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  33. Sgt. Mac

    Sgt. Mac Elder

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    Eat them
     
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  34. PMSteve

    PMSteve Old Timey Outdoorsman Supporter

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    When I moved to Nevada 48 years ago, everyone warned me about rattlesnakes since they knew I liked camping, etc.

    48 years later I can tell you that I have seen only three rattlesnakes, other than roadkill, in all that time. Snake encounters are actually pretty rare unless you find a spot where Medusa just got a haircut!

    Steve
     
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  35. rcwells

    rcwells Supporter Supporter

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    If it's cold weather no worries, they will be denned up somewhere. Warm weather they are moving about so it is a concern.
    A few years back on a day off I was laying out in the backyard enjoying the sun and fell asleep on my stomach with my arms up around my head mid afternoon. I felt a cold sensation on my right arm and as I opened my eyes there was a black racer eye to eye with me. His tongue was almost flicking my cheek. I reacted jumping up and he scooted off so fast I'm not sure where he went! I'm not scared of snakes at all and have caught hundreds over the years by hand, even the venomous variety. But being awakened by a snake and his face in yours is startling I don't care who you are.

    Point is that yes, it's a real possibility if you have the things in your area so sleeping in a tent or at least on a raised bed of tarp camping would reduce the likelihood of similar situation occurring.

    After tarp camping on the ground this past summer, the spiders and roaches and other crawlies was enough to convince me that sleeping on a raised bed in warmer weather is preferred at the very least, if not necessary. And wearing clothing is not optional either lol!

    Hammock camping I haven't tried yet but would like to and that would be a viable solution to the potential problem for sure.

    Good luck whatever you decide and sleep with one eye open! They are coming....!
    IMG_2478.JPG IMG_3797.JPG
     
  36. rk_az

    rk_az Wandering Supporter

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    I think you are more likely to win the lottery. Go out and have fun.
     
  37. Cascadian

    Cascadian Scout

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    Say you're late for work and never call again.
     
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  38. rk_az

    rk_az Wandering Supporter

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    Dang, wish I had thought of that response! Too funny...
     
  39. JAY

    JAY Guide

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    Not sure if it's true, but after retiring here to TN, I asked about rattlers, and copperheads, and was told that poison snakes don't like to climb. Didn't say that they never did though. Think I will get a hammock.
     
  40. LongChinJon

    LongChinJon Scout

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    Yep, most pit vipers in the USA don't have the body strength to climb up a regular tree trunk, or so I've been told. That doesn't mean they can't get in a leaning tree, though.
     

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