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Thread: Snakebite Kits

  1. Default Snakebite Kits

    I will be taking a roadtrip from San Fransisco to Death Vally via National parks, Yosemite, Sequoia, and Death Valley (and in another trip, Mt Raineer) during July. Being the safety freak that I am, I have thought a bit about snakes...is it worth buying exctractors i.e. snake kits or am I wasting my time and money?
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-29-2007 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Preferred URL format

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
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    Default Just leave the snakes alone....

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigfoot View Post
    Being the safety freak that I am, I have thought a bit about snakes...is it worth buyingsnake kits or am I wasting my time and money?
    I have worked and played in wilderness areas where rattlesnakes outnumbered humans by a large majority. I have been struck at twice (both times were my fault for invading their threshold of safety) and never hit. The best procedure for dealing with snakes in the USA is to "leave them alone" I don't carry a snake kit and I see little need for one unless it makes you feel more comfortable.

    Mark

  3. Default

    Thanks Mark. I have heard conflicting opinions - it would make me feel safer however, and some of them can also be used against bees, wasps etc. I'll sleep on it.

    Cheers,
    Bigfoot

  4. #4
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    Mar 2005
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    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
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    Default They're tiny and cheap

    I've seen them no bigger than a deck of cards and they only cost about $3. So why not get one?

    I'm pretty creeped out by snakes. The thought of running into a snake scares me more than running into a bear or even a cougar. I don't know why. They are just so creepy. So, when I've hiked in areas with poisonous snakes, I often wear gaiters even if it's hot enough to wear shorts. I figure that extra protection around my lower legs makes sense since that's also where they're most likely to strike. And, yeah, I'm paranoid about it. REI makes a nice lightweight pair...I think they're even called Desert Gaiters.

  5. #5
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    Default So why not get one?

    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    So why not get one?
    Because you might get tempted to use it. I have never seen any reputable medical science that suggests that they work at all. But I would get one for the same reason that I carry chains 365 days a year -- if I have the appropriate gear -- I won't need to use it.
    I'm pretty creeped out by snakes.
    I like 'em. I lived with a wild Banded Rock Rattler for six months at the fire lookout. (In six months I only had two human visitors) and so I tended to talk with whatever critter stopped by...
    And, yeah, I'm paranoid about it. REI makes a nice lightweight pair...I think they're even called Desert Gaiters
    A real snake-magnet eh? That could come in handy -- good to know.

    Mark

  6. Default Another opinion...

    Having lived and camped in rattlesnake country for some decades, I've never used or recommended gaiters. I also subscribe to the "never put your hand or foot where you can't see where its going" philosophy.

    The reason is rattlesnakes are hair triggered to close on the first thing their fangs encounter. So long, loose pants with a loose fit around the ankle cause the snake to typically close on the pants leg -- not the shoe or ankle or gaiter. My personal opinion (and YMMV, of course) is I'd rather have them strike against the loose fabric around the cuff of my pants, and not the gaiter, which is next to my leg. If you want to be really safe -- wear both. I typically wear above the ankle thick leather hiking boots and long pants.

    The most rattler's I've seen in a day is over 12 -- I was doing a trail project years ago, and as we cleaned out a section of loose flat rocks, it had a major rattlesnake den in it. This was years ago so I don't remember the exact number, but we found quite a few in there...

    I'm aware of maybe a half dozen people who've been bitten at different venues I've been at. In every case, they've been rushed to get anti venom. The snakebite pump in my opinion is better than nothing, but its not going to suck out the poison -- the snake is going to inject it too deep for a surface pump to get. The best thing is to put a constriction bandage on the limb bitten (NOT a tourniquet!!), raise/ lower the body so the limb doesn't 'drain' the poison into the rest of the body, calm them down, and rush them to a local hospital.

    A snake typically only envenomates (puts poison into the bite) about 50% of the time -- but at best, its a deep dirty puncture wound. The worst I've seen for treatment was a person who tried to "cut the wound" to suck the poison out, and mangled the tissue on the person with the snakebite wound a lot more than the original bite -- and then delayed the evacuation of the person so they could "work" on them. They needed stitches to close up the cuts, made by their "helper".

    It's nothing to mess around with... but think about what's the best possible cure first of all.

  7. #7
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    Default Gosh....

    All this is good to know. Thanks, Larrison. I'm obviously not as familiar with the habits of snakes, disgusting critters that they are.

    Everyplace that I've been that has rattlesnakes is also quite hot. So I figured shorts and gaiters were a good combo. I guess I'll have to sweat in long-pants next time. Ah, well....better hot than bit.

    As for snake-bite kits. I would never depend on it either. Getting to medical assistance pronto would always be the best advice.

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